Local news anchor in Sioux Fall, SD, Angela Kennecke never imagined her family would become the subject of the story she’d dedicated ten 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 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 devestating loss, is that Emily’s story, my family’s personal tragedy, can be a catalyst for change.”
The clip quickly went viral, catching the attention of CBS This Morning. Kennecke visited the set to talk about her daughter and 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 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 now working in her local community to change the stigma of drug abuse. She’s set up a fund called “Emily’s Hope” through the Average McKennan Foundation.
“I want her life and her tragic death to at least give someone else hope,” she wrote on keloland.com.