Grand Island family raising awareness for fentanyl poisoning

Kimberly Bohaty used the day her daughter passed away to propel her into a life of raising awareness of fentanyl and the dangers it presents.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 6:37 AM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - On May 22, 2022 Alyssa West passed away as a result of fentanyl poisoning.

The girl her mother described as a fun-loving and family oriented was gone at the young age of 17, but she wasn’t forgotten, her mother Kimberly Bohaty used that day to propel her into a life of raising awareness of fentanyl and the dangers it presents. Her first step was to educate herself about the drug.

“I didn’t know anything about fentanyl before my daughter passed away and I have done a lot of research,” Bohaty said.

After she educated herself she her next goal was outreach.

“I just want parents to know that it’s happening at school, it’s anywhere,” Bohaty told Local4 News.

Bohaty’s path lead her to joining forces with Rachel’s Angels. The non-profit was created in Akron, Ohio after its founder’s daughter died as a result of fentanyl poisoning.

“The day she passed away they call came to our apartment and I was in shock, everybody was crying and I couldn’t figure out how to help them,” Cindy Demaio founder of Rachel’s Angels said. “I didn’t have the words, so I just turned them all into advocates.”

Bohaty is working with Demaio to raise money to put up billboards bearing Alyssa’s likeness with the wording “fentanyl steals our families”. Demaio said seeing something like that on a billboard is one of the most bitter sweet feelings.

“To see your child’s face on a billboard is the most surreal feeling of happiness and sadness,” Demaio said. “Because of course you’re sad that your child is up there but then again you feel like you’re an advocate, you feel like you’re doing something. We’re their voices now.”

Just like Demaio five years when her daughter Rachel lost her life, Bohaty is sure of her mission ahead.

“I know this is what Alyssa would want me to do just because she was very passionate about her family, and I know she wouldn’t want me to just sit here and do nothing,” Bohaty said.

If you would like to donate to the billboards you can find the information here.