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The Passing of Karen Bigg

It is with utmost sadness that The Chicago Recovery Alliance team confirms the passing of our colleague and friend, Karen Bigg, this last Tuesday, August 22nd . Karen was a brilliant harm reductionist, advocate for people who use drugs, adoring mother to Sophie Bigg, and spouse of the late CRA founder Dan Bigg. 

In her tenure at CRA, Karen championed programs for youth, starting the only Chicago harm reduction program to focus on young people using drugs. She also played an outsized role in shaping Chicago harm reduction culture through her unwavering support and prioritization of our participant population. Karen was adamant that our participants have an integral role in the organization’s structure and services provided at CRA. This approach is implemented throughout our agency, from the Board of Directors to the supplies we distribute. Karen always put our participants first.

Karen and Sophie BiggOur harm reduction community would not have grown without Karen’s love, dedication, and soft-spoken tenacity, and CRA, as well as the harm reduction community broadly, already feels the weight of her absence and loss of her guidance and wisdom.

A note from Karen’s Daughter, Sophie Bigg:

“Rest in power to my beautiful, courageous, and intelligent mother / life companion. You made flowers grow wherever you walked, and the stars shone upon you. You made the earth brighter every single day.

And lastly shoutout to my mom for being a badass harm reductionist and my inspiration for not taking any bullshit. 

Have her in your hearts.

May I be blessed to carry on her legacy.”

Please give the Bigg family space and privacy in this challenging time.

-CRA Team