Angela Kennecke is a seasoned investigative journalist who was working on a story on drug overdoses on the day she got the news her 21-year-old daughter died of an overdose. 

An autopsy revealed that Emily died of fentanyl poisoning, after having obtained what she thought was heroin. 

Angela tells viewers about Emily’s death during her first newscast after bereavement leave. (Credit: KELOLAND Media Group)

Angela has made it her mission to stop the stigma surrounding addiction and get more people to take action to find solutions to the opioid epidemic. She started Emily’s Hope to break down barriers for treatment for those suffering from substance use disorder and their families. 

Angela called the charity Emily’s Hope, in order to spread the hope of recovery.

Angela never gave up hope on her daughter
and this is Emily’s legacy.


Angela Kennecke is a veteran broadcast journalist and award-winning investigative reporter. Her reporting has uncovered fraud and corruption, which has resulted in changes to state laws. Her investigations also helped military veterans get the Purple Hearts they deserved. Angela has anchored evening newscasts for KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, SD for more than 30 years. She was most recently named an inductee into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

Angela also helped raise millions of dollars for the Children’s Miracle Network as a telethon host and storyteller. She has emceed hundreds of events and served as a keynote speaker for many conferences and gatherings. Angela was an adjunct instructor for South Dakota State University in the journalism department and taught courses, both graduate and undergraduate, in communications management. During one of Angela’s investigations, she met a man who asked her to write his life story. The Day His Heart Stopped Crying is an inspirational book of second chances and has sold more than one thousand copies.

Over the last decade, many of Angela’s stories focused on the growing opioid crisis. On the day her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, died of an overdose, Angela was working on Good Samaritan Laws and overdose deaths. She interviewed three parents whose children had died of overdoses. Following Emily’s death, Angela realized there was important meaning and a lesson that she could take away from those interviews.  

Emily died of fentanyl poisoning; currently, four people are facing charges in her daughter’s death. Angela has taken Emily’s story nationwide and even internationally. Angela speaks tirelessly about the issues surrounding opioid addiction, a parent’s frustration, and a sense of helplessness and tells it all from the perspective of a mother who has lost her child. Angela started a charity called “Emily’s Hope,” because she never gave up hope on her daughter and now wants to offer hope to other families struggling with addiction.  

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 erase the stigma surrounding addiction and advocate for more funding, better treatment, and more research and understanding that substance use disorder is a disease of the brain.  

Speaking Testimonials

“Angela speaks with strength and a level of dignity that allows her to give a voice to thousands of people who struggle with addiction every day. Her personal commitment to honor Emily’s memory allows her a deep connection with the audience and leaves you with a yearning to do and learn more on how to be of service to others in crisis. With Angela working as an advocate to help end the stigma of drug addiction. We all think, “it can’t happen to us”, but listening to Angela tell her story, you remember that addiction affects all levels of our society and that the opioid epidemic is tragically taking many young people from our communities. I am thankful for her courage to tell her story and shed light on this important issue facing our country today.”

-Mission Development, Presentation College

“Angela’s presentation brought awareness and education surrounding a topic that’s difficult to initiate. Our students related to Emily and you could see the concern on their faces as her story unfolded. Angela’s ability to engage and challenge participants created an opportunity for those dealing with addiction to seek resources and encouraged the message of hope.”

– Dr. Summer M. Schultz, Superintendent, Dell Rapids School District

“Angela’s message hit home with many in our school community. Her willingness to share her personal story only reinforced what we see every day in our school systems – the need for more education, compassion, and awareness about the opioid epidemic and addiction. Angela’s presentation was not only informative, but it also inspired us to have honest conversations and to see there is hope even in the darkest of days.”

– Mrs. Alynn Coppock, West MS/HS Principal

“The students’ attentiveness speaks for itself that Angela’s presentation was very engaging and moved many, students and adults, to tears. This presentation started the dialogue that we will be able to build off of as we continue our efforts to bring awareness to the problem of substance use disorder in our area.”

– Wanda Jarchow, Board Member, #Luve1LuvAll

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