By Joel Hillan

CASTLE PINES, Colo. (CBS4) — Friends and family of those struggling with addiction will come together Saturday morning at Denver’s Great Lawn Park for the Shatterproof 5K. The event raises money and awareness about the fight against addiction which affects thousands of Colorado families every day.

Families like Karla and John Tartz.  No two parents could have been more proud of a daughter than they were of Morgan.


“She was funny, she made us laugh out loud. She was so caring, empathetic, not judgmental whatsoever,” said Karla.


“She had this flair for fashion and she wanted to be a fashion designer,” added John.

Morgan pursued her dream, attending fashion school in Los Angeles.


“She came home one Easter and came in and told us she had to tell us something, something she had been hiding for a while,” said Karla.

Her secret was that she was addicted to heroin.

“She kept it from everyone.” John said.  “Her friends, her family and so this was a shock for us.”


“It had to have been scary for her,” said Karla. “For all those years, hiding behind this mask.”

Her family rallied, checking Morgan in to what they considered one of the top facilities in Colorado.

She would graduate on to a rehab community.

Karla tells of Morgan’s daily struggle, “If she could just get her head on her pillow at night, she knew she made it another day.”

Morgan had been sober 90 days when she had a setback.

“She came home, she was with us,” said Karla. “We got to hold her, but in the morning, her little heart just couldn’t take it anymore and she passed away here with us.”

“She had all the money, resources, all the support that she needed from friends and family who knew what was going on and we still lost, we still lost this battle,” John said.

And although Morgan lost her battle, the Tartzs are not done fighting and encouraging others to fight the disease of addiction.

“If anyone is doing it and they’re ashamed and they’re scared, reach out now, it’s never too late, get help,” said Karla. Adding, “It’s time to let those masks down and talk more openly about depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues.”

If you would like to learn more about the Shatterproof 5K, visit their website.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.