The family of Cheyenne Sekura, who died Feb. 22 after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl, spoke out to help others. (Tracy Holmes photo)

The family of Cheyenne Sekura, who died Feb. 22 after taking cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl, spoke out to help others. (Tracy Holmes photo)

LETTERS: Finding strength to seek answers

Editor: Re: 'They won't sell me stuff to hurt me,' June 20; Victim knew fentanyl 'was around,' June 22.

Editor:

Re: ‘They won’t sell me stuff to hurt me,’ June 20; Victim knew that fentanyl ‘was around,’ June 22.

Thank you to reporter Tracy Holmes for doing such a great job on the interviews and subsequent articles in this opioid crisis.

As a therapist of over 25 years in this community, I have been picking up the pieces with parents, siblings and friends who have lost their loved ones. I find it an honour to hold people close in their time of loss, but it also leaves me feeling angry and helpless as the overdose crisis picks up speed.

When I first became aware of fentanyl and its devastating effects, we were losing one to two people a day to accidental overdose. That was shocking in itself. I believe that in B.C. we are now nearing four per day. This breaks my heart.

But what can we do? Awareness, and changing our language towards others who are suffering, are both great starts. And thanks to very brave moms like Cathy Clements and Cindy Liefke, more awareness is happening.

Simply put, I wanted to make a public acknowledgment and show of gratitude for Cindy and Cathy. Losing a child is one of the most significant losses any of us can imagine. Then, to put your personal story out for all to see, wow. That takes courage, vulnerability and a strength I am not sure I would have myself in the same circumstances.

I truly believe this type of awareness is important in an attempt to safeguard our own families.

We must be honest. We must not be ashamed or embarrassed. This crisis is hitting people that are plagued with the disease of addiction, it is hitting people who are just curious and experimenting, and it is hitting people who just wanted to have some fun – not realizing, of course, that the cost of fun could be their life.

Thanks, Cathy and Cindy. Your losses are in my heart, and I will do my best to advocate and bring awareness in hopes that it will save lives.

Jennifer Hammersmark, White Rock

• • •

After gaining some courage and strength after having my daughter Cheyenne’s story printed in the Peace Arch News on June 20, I would like, on behalf of my family, to publicly express our sincere gratitude to the firemen, paramedics and advance life support team members who tirelessly worked on Cheyenne that terrible evening.

To the Surrey RCMP members and the nurses and doctors who were able to look past the “addict” and treat Cheyenne and our family with respect and dignity, you are a role model to your colleagues. We are forever grateful.

We are all guilty of judging people. We have not walked in their shoes, we do not know their story. Please let’s all take a step back and take a closer look at ourselves.

Cindy Liefke, Surrey

Peace Arch News