‘Be Batman:’ Florida organization providing hope in the battle against opioid addiction

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The captain of his high school football team, a great student, and a helpful soul, Mark Garwood was on his way to an incredible future. But one day, Mark was punched in the face during a pickup basketball game, which broke his jaw and changed his life forever.

“The doctor prescribed oxycodone … and it was off to the races after that,” his mother, Erica Garwood recalled to Action News Jax.


That one moment would go on to lead to years of opioid addiction for Mark, a battle which he would later lose … passing away at the age of 24.

Now, Mark’s parents, Erica and John Garwood, have started the Mark Garwood Foundation, which provides scholarships and hope to those struggling for sobriety from opioid addiction. Furthermore, the organization is now bringing it’s services to Jacksonville, looking to touch even more lives here in Florida.

“[Mark] was very active in the recovery community and we felt compelled to do something to give back to the individuals we had met in the recovery community,” explained John Garwood.

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And the foundation is carrying out this mission with a unique message in mind: “Be Batman.”

“Batman was Mark’s favorite superhero. I have pictures of him at two-years-old in his Batman pajamas, and at 20-years-old going to a costume party in his Batman outfit,” recalled Erica with a smile. “And it wasn’t until after Mark passed and we started working on the foundation that I learned, Batman is the only superhero who doesn’t have superpowers. He uses the tools all round him to change darkness into light.

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“You have the tools. Use them. Be Batman.”

And since the start of Mark Garwood foundation in 2015, the organization has given 51 scholarships to those looking to ‘be Batman,’ and looking for a more hopeful future.

Those looking to apply for a scholarship through the organization can do so through the application forms on their website found by clicking here. The deadline to return application forms will be June 15, with awards expected to be announced in the Jacksonville community in July.

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