BELOIT, Wis. — Addiction doesn’t discriminate.
Nikolas Graves loved baseball growing up. Brooke McKearn said he was quite the slugger.
“Nik loved to make people laugh,” said McKearn. “He would do anything for anybody.”
He also loved to travel. McKearn said her son traveled to all seven continents.
“We have kids that go to Africa the summer of his junior year and they volunteer their time the entire summer to set up organized sports,” said McKearn. “We have kids that skied at the Alps. We have a kid that had dreams. That had ambitions. That had goals.”
While she looked back at pictures of her son, McKearn said it’s hard to believe he passed away from fentanyl poisoning.
McKearn said her son had a lot going for him. She wants other parents to know that addiction doesn’t discriminate.
“It doesn’t matter who you are — class, race, gender,” said Mckearn. “What you love to do. What you don’t love to do. It’s going to steal the life from you and that’s what illicit fentanyl poisoning does.”
To honor her son, McKearn started working for Vivent Health. She’s a prevention specialist helping others who are battling addiction. She passes out Hope Kits, filled with Narcan and testing strips.
“If you don’t have the Narcan within the first five minutes of an overdose, your cardiac and respiratory system shutdown and you die,” said McKearn. “That’s how important it is.”
She said by sharing information about the dangers of fentanyl and providing Hope Kits, she can help others.
“Every time I hear about another overdose death, it saddens me because it shouldn’t have to be like that,” said McKearn. “I can’t reach every single citizen. I can’t save the world. I know that.”
McKearn said she knows her son is looking down on her, proud of the work she’s doing.
“The biggest thing is that he’d tell me I’m a rockstar,” said McKearn. “Every time I help a person, a client, a parent with whatever they need, that’s really the most humbling and gratifying experience I’ve ever had.”
All of this, she said, is her way of trying to ensure another parent doesn’t lose their child to fentanyl poisoning.
She said Vivent Health, the Rock County Health Department and AMS of Janesville have been able to pass out more than 400 Hope Kits across the community.
For more information on how to get a Hope Kit, click here.