Moving obituary for mother who died of opioid addiction helps raise $11,000 for drug-free centre

Sarah Young
Family of Madelyn Linsenmeir

A heartbreaking obituary for a woman with drug addiction has inspired hundreds of people to donate to her local recovery centre.

Madelyn Linsenmeir, from Burlington, Vermont, was aged 30 when she passed away earlier this month after suffering from opioid addiction. She left behind a toddler, two grieving parents, as well as a sister and partner, who for years “feared her addiction would claim her life.”

Ms Linsenmeir’s family posted an obituary on the website for independent Vermont newspaper Seven Days following her death on 7 October. In the moving tribute, the family asked people to donate to the Turning Point Centre, a non-profit group based in the city which works with people to overcome addiction and where Ms Linsenmeir spent some time.

The tribute also detailed the young mother’s battle with drug addiction and gave an insight as to who she was as a person.

“It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug addiction,” Ms Linsenmeir's sister, Kate O’Neill, wrote.

“To some, Maddie was just a junkie — when they saw her addiction, they stopped seeing her. And what a loss for them. Because Maddie was hilarious, and warm, and fearless, and resilient.

"She could and would talk to anyone, and when you were in her company you wanted to stay."

The touching obituary quickly went viral online and has since helped the Turning Point Centre raise $11,000 (£8,500).

The centre has received more than 100 donations so far, ranging from $5 (£4) to $1,000 (£750) from people all over the world.

“We've been overwhelmed by the generosity,” Larry De Carolis, executive director of the Turning Point Centre told the New York Times.

“Many of them have been from people who lost a loved one; many are from people who have struggled with addiction themselves and are in recovery now, and many are just citizens who were touched by the obituary and wanted to do something.”

De Carolis also pointed out that the family’s obituary has helped humanise an issue that affects so many communities.

“It has allowed people to see that these are human beings first with talents and skills and yes they struggle with an addiction,” he told ABC news.