In episode 45, Angela Kennecke shares with us her story of losing her beautiful 21-year-old daughter, Emily, to overdose. Angela and her family were just a normal family. Emily was a gifted student and cheerleader. But Emily was struggling with one of the most common problems in America — addiction. Her sudden and unexpected death changed the lives of her family forever.
Through her grief, Angela wanted to keep Emily’s memory alive. She originally wanted to just display some of her daughter’s artwork at a local charity center. Fast forward to today and Angela now runs Emily’s Hope, a foundation that wants to remove the stigma of addiction, provide financial support for treatment seekers, and bring comfort to families who have lost a loved one to addiction.
If you’re looking for resources for yourself or a family member, please check out the resources that are available on the Emily’s Hope website.
About Angela Kennecke
Angela Kennecke is a veteran broadcast journalist and award-winning investigative reporter. Over the last decade, many of Angela’s stories focused on the growing opioid crisis. On May 16, 2018, the day her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, died of an overdose, Angela was working on an investigation into Good Samaritan Laws and overdose deaths. She interviewed three parents whose children had died of overdoses. Following Emily’s death, Angela realized there was an important meaning and a lesson that she could take away from those interviews.
Emily died of fentanyl poisoning. Angela has taken Emily’s story nationwide and even internationally. Angela speaks tirelessly about the issues surrounding opioid addiction, and a parent’s frustration and sense of helplessness, and tells it all from the perspective of a mother who has lost her child. Angela started a nonprofit organization called “Emily’s Hope” because she never gave up hope on her daughter, and now she wants to offer hope to other families struggling with addiction. To date, Emily’s Hope has helped dozens of people with treatment scholarships. The charity also supports mothers in recovery, and their children, staying in the Emily’s Hope Oxford Sober Living House.
Angela believes when tragedy and setbacks strike the only thing you have control over is your response. Angela’s response to the loss of her beautiful and beloved daughter is to turn heartbreak into action by erasing the stigma surrounding addiction and advocating for more funding, better treatment, and more research and understanding of substance use disorder.
Angela and her husband, Jeff, have surviving children Abby, Jordan, and Adam. The family also has three dogs, Charlie, Skippy, and Hunny.