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Why they gave out yo-yo’s at his memorial service


They handed out yo-yos at Andrew White’s memorial service.

Click to read the special report

Drew, who was 23 when he died after a heroin overdose in Lantana last fall, was an expert “yo-yoer,” who had competed at tournaments around the country since he was 14.

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A native of Richmond, Va., he designed yo-yos for two companies and can be seen in action on YouTube videos, which were shown at his service.

“He was a great yo-yoer. When he was on, he was probably in the Top 20 in the world,’’ said Joey O’Neill, president of the New York City Yo-Yo Club, which held a moment of silence and dedicated a weekly meet in Drew’s memory in Washington Square Park in October 2015.

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Drew earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., in 2014 and was active with the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He came to South Florida in December 2014 to seek help for depression and opiate addiction, said his mother, Laura White.

Laura said she doesn’t know when her son first started using heroin. She said Drew first went to a treatment center on Singer Island but also spent time at sober homes in Broward County after relapsing.

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During his recovery, he was outgoing and tried to help others. “He was the one who would help everybody else feel better. He was the one who helped me out,’’ said Kim Christensen, a friend Drew met in rehab who said she’s been clean from a pain-pill addiction since July 2015.

She said Drew also performed yo-yo tricks and pointed others to his yo-yo videos on YouTube. But his mother said he knew that yo-yos were “not a professional thing.’’

“The joke is, ‘What’s the difference between a professional yo-yoer and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four,’” Laura recalled.

On Sept. 29, 2015, he was found in a motel room in Lantana struggling to breathe. He died at JFK Medical Center on Oct. 7 “after losing a hard-fought battle with addiction,’’ his obituary noted.

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His mother, who wrote the obit, said: “People ought to know the truth.’’

About 130 people attended the wake before his memorial service in Richmond. At the entrance was a big bowl with little plastic yo-yos.


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