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Franklin mother who lost her only two children to fentanyl overdoses is trying to raise awareness

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 19:30:40-05

FRANKLIN, Wisc. — Kathy Galipo of Franklin is living any mother's nightmare. Her only two children died within a year and a half of each other from fentanyl overdoses.

Donald Newman died in May of 2019 at the age of 24. His older brother, Paul, died in December of 2020 at the age of 29.

“They had their whole life ahead of them, and to lose them like that is devastating,” said Galipo. “You can’t ever get over something like this. Both of your kids? Your word is shattered by losing the two people you love the most.”

Galipo says they were loved, supported, happy and successful. She never imagined their lives would tragically end due to drugs.

“I think people need to be aware of that,” she said. “That you can lose your loved ones so quickly, and not have any idea this is happening or that there was a problem. Fentanyl is being laced with everything. Everyone needs to know to be careful and aware. Talk to your kids. This hidden drug is killing families.”

Fentanyl is to blame for 79 percent of Milwaukee County's drug overdose deaths last year. It has become more widely available in recent years and is linked to the rising number of overdose deaths nationwide.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be made discreetly in labs and mixed into other drugs without people knowing.

The Department of Justice describes fentanyl as "practically and effectively 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin or prescription opioids."

Galipo does not want any other parent to be left with only photos of their children or have to visit them in a cemetery.

Donald and Paul are buried together in Elkhorn where they grew up.

“They had each other's back all the way through life,” she said. “They were never apart. I know they are together in heaven, but they should still be here.”

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