In 2002, Layne Staley, a hero to many, passed away. Generations of fans continue to hear him on the airwaves today and take comfort when they hear that distinctive voice. If you visit Layne-Staley.com, you can see his legacy lives on through his fans with touching tributes.
“ I believe…he was sent from Heaven as a spokesperson for the sufferers.”
I had the chance to visit with his mother, Nancy McCallum, and to chat with her about her son, his life and the fans as the annual Layne Staley Tribute Show gears up at The Showbox/Market on August 24, 2018.
Sixteen years ago, Nancy was working at Eastside Recovery for Therapeutic Health Services (THS). She received a call from Layne’s accountant on a Friday to check on Layne. While it was not unusual for him to take money out from the bank, nobody had heard from him for a while; so, she went to his home and called a police officer to check on him. They discovered Layne on the couch. He had passed away about two weeks prior.
It’s absolutely devastating when a parent has to bury their own child. While Nancy grieved for the loss of her son to opioid addiction, fans had started sending her money. Realizing she didn’t want other parents to face the same loss, she asked THS is they accepted donations, and they said yes. Meeting with the CEO along with Layne’s father, Phil, they set up a memorial fund in Layne’s honor, with money going towards patient treatment.
Seeking to turn the tragedy of Layne’s death into hope for those that suffer, Layne’s website, layne-staley.com provides support, education, and encouragement for heroin recovery; and it creates a place for family, friends, and fans to stay connected for the common goal of sharing information and resources for sustained recovery. Each of us must create our own personal mission statement to guide our choices and behaviors.
It has been sixteen years since Layne passed away, and Nancy continues to be constantly surprised by the fans, especially when she meets them at the annual tribute concert. She thought she would stop hearing from the fans a few years after Layne had passed, but clearly that has not been the case. Fans find her (she gets a lot of hugs!) and confess some of their saddest and darkest stories. She reminds them that they are not alone and that there is help available for them.
Nancy has attended every tribute show since the beginning and cannot describe how the show makes her feel. Every year, the fans show up in honor of her son. When fans tell her that her son was and continues to be a major positive influence in their lives, she attributes it all to love.
I asked Nancy about other charities that are near and dear to her heart in addition to working with THS. In addition to wanting to save the lives of those struggling with opioid addiction, she also wants to save the planet. She contributes to conservation charities that help keep our water and air clean, as well as in efforts to end fracking.
Plan to attend the upcoming International Fountain ‘Meet-and-Greet’ in the Seattle Center this Thursday night, August 23 at 7 p.m. Have a moment to talk with Nancy and to see other fan friends from near and far, to be followed by a night of cover band tributes to Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Mother Love Bone, and Soundgarden at El Corazon.
For more information and to get help with opioid addiction, please visit www.ths-wa.org.
Remember, you are not alone. Tell someone you trust about your struggles and ask for help. – Nancy McCallum