Angela Kennecke, a local news anchor in Sioux Falls, S.D., never imagined her family would become the subject of the story she had dedicated 10 years of her life to reporting: the opioid crisis. But in May, she lost her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, to a fentanyl overdose.
Kennecke and her family were dumbfounded, not even realizing that Emily was addicted to heroin. After taking time off to cope with her daughter’s death, Kennecke returned to the news desk at KELO-TV with an important message for her community.
“My choice, even at great personal risk, is to share my daughter’s story with all of you,” she said. “The reason I’m doing this is because my only hope in the face of such devastating loss is that Emily’s story, my family’s personal tragedy, can be a catalyst for change.”
I'm issuing a personal plea to end the stigma surrounding addiction and a call for action regarding the opioid crisis! pic.twitter.com/Ayxlf43UQm
— Angela Kennecke (@AngelaKennecke) September 5, 2018
The clip quickly went viral, catching the attention of CBS This Morning. Kennecke visited the show to talk about her daughter and a newfound calling of helping others in her community. Ironically, Kennecke had spoken with three other parents about their children’s opioid addiction the day her daughter died.
“I knew my daughter had a problem and on that day, we were planning an intervention. I just didn’t know what it was she was using. I think we need so much more than judgment, compassion. I’m trying to do what I can to make changes in my own community back home to get people the help that they need. And that’s all really I can do with this.”
Kennecke is working in her local community to change the stigma of drug abuse. She’s set up a fund called “Emily’s Hope” through the Avera McKennan Foundation.
“I want her life and her tragic death to at least give someone else hope,” she wrote on keloland.com.
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