No parent should have to bury a child.
But for Wayne County resident Cheryl Mainor, that sentiment became her reality when she lost her 22-year-old son, Shane.
“His death was classified as an accidental overdose, but truth be told he died of a broken heart,” Cheryl said. “Yes, there were drugs involved but there are other factors that weighed heavily in his heart.”
Shane was popular in school and excelled in athletics. He was a three-time Karate champion.
But by his 16th birthday, his mom saw a change in him that scared her.
“He was introduced by an older person to cocaine and, when he did it, he said to me that he met the devil himself,” Cheryl said.
Shane told his mom the drugs made him feel great and boosted his confidence, similar to the ADHD medicine he had taken as a child, but without the side effects.
“He said the drugs just made him feel more comfortable. It allowed him to function within society,” she said.
Shane eventually experimented with all kinds of different substances.
“We battled with him to get help with his addiction,” Cheryl said. “By the time he was 18, we took him to Greenville Rescue Mission in South Caroline. He did well at the treatment center and he would be clean until he came home. He would work and do great.
“But when he returned home, it was like the demon lived here in Wayne County. Being around old friends, places & things pulled him back into his addiction. It was just too easy around here for him to get them,” she said.
Throughout his addiction, Cheryl said her son remained a good person and was still like by many people.
Even among his user friends, she said, it was Shane who often helped them through their darker hours and ministered for a cause. It was during this time he met and fell in love with a young lady, who later became the mother of his son.
Sixteen months after the joyous birth of his child, tragedy unfolded.
Shane received the news his young son had been brutally abused, by another young man.
“Shane carried the pain of a father, he took on the blame that his son died. It weighed heavily on the fact he was not there to protect his own son. He carried that guilt and that destroyed him,” Cheryl said. “Until we received the autopsy, we did not know exactly how J.D was killed. We knew he was hurt but it wasn’t until we received the autopsy that we found out just how traumatic and terrible our baby’s death had been.”
“When the DA told Shane what occurred, he said, ‘I can’t believe that somebody would do this to a baby.’ Not my baby… Not my son. That day he went on a major drinking binge, and we knew we were in trouble,” Cheryl said.
“He just steady went down the road with alcohol for about two weeks – no drugs, just alcohol. Then one day he told me he had not touched a drink in four days. I begged him to go to a detox to get dried up and he said, ‘No. I’m going to do this on my own.”
The family was set to go to court to deal with portions of the ongoing trial in the baby’s murder when tragedy struck the family for a second time.
“I got the knock on the door from a friend of his, early Friday morning saying Shane is on his way to the hospital “He is dead” Within minutes I got the call from the coroner, that no mom wants to get, telling me my son passed away.”
His autopsy showed he had combined methadone and Xanax, a deadly combination that shuts down the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
” Cheryl said. “We reared him in the church. Do I believe that prayer works? Absolutely I do. But it was not in God’s plan to save Shane because he died more so of a broken heart for what happened to his son and now I believe they are back together again rejoicing in heaven.”
It is this enduring faith in God that has turned Cheryl’s tragedy into a personal challenge to become an advocate and educate others about the dangers of drugs and dependency.
“I have this saying. ‘I’ve already seen my worst day, so everyday past my worst day is a better day. So today is a better day for me,’” she said.
To make the future brighter for others, Cheryl has established a non-profit organization “Mothers Against Substance Abuse/Take By Force Ministries.
“Throughout the six years of dealing with Shane’s substance abuse, I became educated and I learned about addiction,” she said.
“Starting all the way back to when he was diagnosed with ADHD, I would tell parents to research everything for yourself. Find out exactly what it is that you will be giving to your child before you do so,’ she said.
“I believe parents need to become educated and find out what their kids are into,” They need to learn what drug paraphernalia looks like or could look like. They need to search their medicine cabinets and see what prescription medications or cough syrups that may contain drugs or alcohol. (Safe guard them.)
Through MASA, and Shane’s Crib, Cheryl schedules opportunities to speak at local churches and youth organizations to make the community more aware of the lessons she’s learned through her experiences.
“We believe that through education and prayer, we have a good program going on. Please feel free to call us to set up a rally. Cheryl said if I can save just one life, then it is worth it all to know Shane's death of a broken heart and his drug abuse was not in vain. Saving lives …One life at a time.
Daniel “Shane” Mainor
October 7, 1984 – August 3, 2007
Remembering his life on earth is easy, Shane was a great funny kid,
Full of life and dreams, never meeting a stranger.
He soon grew to be a young man full of love, with a heart of gold.
Always reaching out with a smile to help others, in the midst of his own pain,
He deeply touched all who knew him.
August 3, 2007 the world lost a unique young man and I lost my son, here on earth
But heaven gained a mighty “Yea Sir”
Shane taught me much about the demon of addiction that the world faces today.
40 people per day die from prescription drug over doses.
Shane’s quote, “Addiction is very controlling, it takes you places you don’t want to go,
You end up doing things you can’t believe you could do!”
The devil makes you think you are a nobody, that no one cares about you,
You get caught up in a web of lies full of grief and sorrow,
Thinking I have nowhere to run and hide”
My son’s life was cut short from the demons of Addiction and a broken heart.
I am determined his death will never be in vain or go unnoticed.
I have opened a women’s discipleship program in honor of him.
It is called “Shane’s Crib” speaking out to addicts, helping them to overcome addiction through Christ.
Shane, you taught me much! Lives are being changed because of you!
In life you gave, in death you bring hope.
Until we meet again my son, know you are so loved and missed.
I love you to heaven and back!!