Your host of Grieving Out Loud, Angela Kennecke, first met Melissa Flynn just a few months after Emily died. Melissa contacted Angela to see how she could help with her newly formed charity, Emily’s Hope. Melissa had lost her 25-year-old stepson, Nicholas, to fentanyl poisoning just ten days after Emily died. Angela and Melissa met, and they have been doing advocacy work together ever since.
In this episode, Melissa talks about losing Nicholas to a fentanyl overdose, her frustration in attempting to get him help, and what she has learned during this challenging journey. Melissa is sharing her family’s story in hopes that others in a similar situation will benefit.
MEET THE GUEST
Melissa Flynn completed a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Business Management and Project Management in 2015 and her M.Ed. in Educational Administration: Adult and Higher Education at the University of Sioux Falls in August 2017.
She is a National Society of Leadership and Success member, a Certified DDI Leadership Training Facilitator, a Certified Professional of Talent Development (CPTD), a volunteer Community Educator for Addiction Policy Forum, and a former volunteer Board Member for Face It TOGETHER. Flynn also volunteers for the Avera Addiction Care Center, The Link Community Triage Center, Emily’s Hope Foundation, and Helpline Center.
Since becoming a volunteer with Addiction Policy Forum in 2018, Flynn has attended two National Leadership Conferences in Washington, D.C., and met with state representatives. Flynn has shared her personal story of grief and loss by speaking at Communities Facing Addiction events. Flynn has also shared her story on the Addiction Policy Forum “192 A Day Awareness Campaign” through an interview as an affected family member on the Face It TOGETHER Sioux Falls website and through a Podcast recording for “Emily’s Hope” as well as many other events and forums. Flynn has helped organize candlelight vigils in Sioux Falls for International Overdose Awareness Day since 2019. Flynn hopes that sharing her family’s story will raise awareness, reduce stigma and provide hope and assistance for those in need.
Angela Kennecke is a journalist who lost her 21-year-old daughter Emily to fentanyl poisoning on May 16, 2018. Angela is “grieving out loud” to try to put an end to this epidemic by stopping the stigma and promoting the treatment of substance use disorder as the disease it is. Anyone coping with loss and looking for inspiration can benefit from listening to this podcast.