KENOSHA, Wis. - Kenosha authorities are investigating the death of a 14-year-old who died from an apparent fentanyl overdose earlier in July. A Kenosha mother knows the kind of pain that family is feeling. She's been there, and she's determined to use her grief to help other parents cope.
When Theresa Newman's daughter, Sarah Beckius, died in November 2021, she was told she'd have to wait half a year to get any kind of counseling. She's now starting a foundation of her own, not wanting any other family to wait that long.
"She loved her dog, Larry," said Newman. "She was just a sweet girl. She was my mini-me."
Newman also has memories no parent should have.
"To see my child like that, to see her get put into a body bag, no one should have to go through that," said Newman.
Newman said her daughter took an opioid she didn’t know was laced with fentanyl. Beckius was 27 when she died – and six months' pregnant.
"I was just so looking forward to being a grandma," said Newman. "She was very excited to be a mother. I was very excited to be a nana. I lost two that day."
Trying to deal with that loss, Newman said she ran into six-month-long waiting lists.
"My youngest daughter has had the same issue getting in somewhere, waiting list," said Newman. "By then, it could be too late for someone else."
"To me, that’s appalling," said Kristen Kelly. "You need help now. You don’t need help six months from now."
Kelly is a co-worker of Newman, helping her start Sarah’s Hope & Recovery Foundation.
"I feel like we’re really going to change lives," said Kelly.
They plan to help grieving families and people with addictions.
"It’s just all these red tape you have to get through," said Newman. "As our foundation, we want to be able to help cut through that tape."
Newman hopes the foundation will make a mark in her hometown.
"If I could save one family from the grief that my family has gone through, that would be the main objective," said Newman. "My daughter was not perfect. She had issues. She was facing some serious charges herself. I’m not making excuses for her, but this has to stop."
On Sunday, July 24, Newman is holding a kickoff fundraiser for Sarah’s Hope & Recovery Foundation at Petrifying Springs Park from noon to 5 p.m. She said there will be a run/walk, raffles, food, music and more.
Newman said they're hoping to network with therapists and counselors, keep growing and eventually get a physical location for the foundation.
Those interested in finding out more about the foundation can visit this website.