South Dakota news anchor Angela Kennecke for the last decade has reported on the rise of opioids in her local area, but likely never thought the news would get so personal.
This week, the KELO-TV anchor reported about her own daughter’s overdose death. As ABC 7 Chicago reported, Kennecke’s daughter Emily died of an overdose of the opioid fentanyl back in May, after having struggled with heroin addiction for years.
Kennecke shared the immensely personal story with the station’s audience, writing on the KELO website that Emily was “the most amazing kid in the world” and that the family knew she was heading down the wrong path. They had planned for Emily to go to a treatment program, but just a few days before, she was found dead of an overdose.
“As a mom, I have a hole in my heart that will always be there. It is never going to heal. I have other children that I love. I have a husband that I love. But nothing and nobody can replace the loss of my oldest child,” Kennecke wrote.
Angela Kennecke also took to the air to warn viewers about the dangers of opioids, saying that if a bright and talented young girl from an upper-middle-class family can fall victim to heroin addiction, it can happen to anyone.
“Because if just one person hears me, if just one person does one thing to save a life, then I don’t care about a million naysayers or people who don’t understand,” Kennecke said in a special segment that aired on the network Wednesday (via the New York Post). “I just care about that one mother that I can stop from experiencing the pain that I have.”
Though the story may be immensely difficult for her to tell, Kennecke has been willing to share it in the hopes of helping others. Beyond the segment for her own station, the news anchor has also shared national outlets that have picked up her daughter’s story.
Angela Kennecke has also set up a fund called Emily’s Hope to help pay for addiction treatment for those who need it and has not shied away from sharing some very personal details about her daughter’s own struggle and ultimate death. Kennecke said this week that the dose of fentanyl her daughter took was six times the therapeutic dose for a large man, noting that Emily likely died almost immediately after injecting it.