Louisville mother riding to save lives, raise awareness of opioid overdose in honor of late son

Julie Hofmans story
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 8:23 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville mother is riding to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

Julie Hofmans lost her son, Wyatt, two years ago when he took a fentanyl-laced pill.

On Saturday, she got on her horse, Hugo, in Wyatt’s memory.

“I feel his strength,” Hofmans said. “Just something happened to me after Wyatt died. I said I’m going to be strong.”

Strong enough to clear the hurdles and strong enough to wear her son Wyatt’s favorite color. And strong enough to tell his story.

“I’m trying to...I’m trying to save other people from going through what we’re going through,” Hofmans said.

On April 5 2020, a 23-year-old Wyatt took a pill he thought was Xanax, not knowing there was fentanyl inside. Hofmans called it poison.

“He didn’t overdose,” she said. “He did take a handful of pills. He wasn’t trying to do anything wrong. He just took a Xanax that he thought was a Xanax, and it had fentanyl in it, and it took his life.”

Since her son’s death, Hofmans has become an advocate for her son and for anyone who might be considering using drugs.

Research from The CCD showed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. died of drug overdoses and poisonings in the 12-month period ending in January 2022. 67% of those deaths involved drugs like fentanyl.

For Hofmans, the latest trip in her advocacy journey takes her here to Brownsboro Farm in Crestwood riding in “The Pace” event.

Sponsoring Jump nine called Wyatt’s Story’s Jump. Because while fentanyl may have ended his life, Hofmans said it’s not the end of his story.

“Other people say, ‘Oh Geez, do you think it’s sort of like you’re making Wyatt look bad?,’ she said. “Or {they say}, ‘it’s such a tough subject.’ It’s really not. It happened to my family. It happened to Wyatt. So to me, if I’m upholding Wyatt, and I’m saying, ‘Don’t let this happen to you, to your family, I think Wyatt would be proud. I really do.”

Hofmans said her goal is to get into schools and share Wyatt’s story with children that way she can make a difference in their lives before they make a deadly mistake.