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Billboard honoring man killed from fentanyl aims to raise awareness

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Posted at 7:16 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 20:16:45-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — There's a new billboard up you may see if you drive along interstate 70 westbound near Brooklyn Avenue.

The billboard has a photo of 22-year-old Ashton Harmon-Manser, who died in 2020 from a fentanyl overdose.

His mother, Sara Manser, hopes the billboard will raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl to prevent more families from having to experience the same pain of losing a child.

"It's been heartbreaking, and it's something that I wouldn't want another parent to go through whatsoever," Manser said.

Manser is a Kansas City-area native and now lives in Kentucky. She flew to KCMO to be able to watch the billboard go up Monday.

As she watched her son's face slowly appear on the board, she said she couldn't help but feel sadness.

"The fact that you have to get awareness out in such ways is just heartbreaking," Manser said.

Since his death, she has become determined to raise awareness among parents and teens, even if they think it will never affect them.

"Fentanyl does not discriminate whatsoever," Manser said.

The billboard is also meant to recognize the first ever fentanyl awareness and prevention day Aug. 21.

While Manser never imagined she would lose her son, she finds healing in the possibility of his story saving lives.

"It makes me feel hopeful that with this board going up, if I could just save one life with this board, that would make me happy," Manser said.