JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A mother in Onslow County is working to help others who have lost loved ones to gun violence and substance abuse.

Angie Demby’s nonprofit AMEND Foundation hopes to be a resource for others struggling to heal after losing a family member or friend. Demby lost one of her sons, Gary “JR” Adams, in 2015 to gun violence.

“He was just such a loving person and everybody loved JR,” said Demby. “My son was 19 when he got killed. He didn’t make it to his graduation.”

Angie Demby (Contributed photo)

She lost another son, Gerad, to substance abuse in 2019.

“He was trying to deal with the loss of losing his brother, so he turned to drugs,” she said. “A day before his birthday. He was 21 years old when he passed away. He didn’t make it to his 22nd birthday.”

One of her struggles was overcoming the obstacles of grief after losing her sons.

“I had to forgive the gentleman that took my son’s life, I had to forgive the young lady that taught my son how to shoot up drugs,” said Demby. “I’m gonna tell you, you know, we’d be angry at the people that our loved ones got connected with and how they got high with. But we have to forgive them.”

In 2020, she started her own nonprofit to help others in similar situations.

“Some people say it’s stages and grief and it is. But for me, I would say it’s a journey because you could be in stage four and go right back to stage one. However, it’s so many things that you deal with as far as dealing with grief,” she said.

She created her foundation to be someone to listen to, be a shoulder to cry on or connect them with resources they need.

“Even though my sons are not here, my expression, my love for them, it will never die. It’s going to live on,” Demby said.

To find more on AMEND Foundation, click here.