ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WTXF) - Corey McCabe never thought he would write these words:
"Her name is Brieze McCabe, she is our daughter, a mother, a sister, a grandchild. What she is not is a junkie, a fiend or less than."
He wrote an open letter to his local paper in Allentown, but although he hopes the general public listens, the topic was extremely personal.
"She was 17 and struggled to overcome her disease. She wanted to accomplish her goals and her dreams. Unfortunately, this insidious disease that we suffer sadly overtook her."
The story of addiction and the tragedy that often surrounds it is sadly way too common and, in Corey's case, it wasn't just his daughter.
"I've struggled with substance abuse disorder for over 30 years. I was praying and, one day at work, God just laid this on my heart to get more involved in the community," McCabe explained.
His struggles taught him that people dealing with addiction need support. He started Alive2Day.com to offer some. Unfortunately, while the organization launched in April, his own daughter died in June.
"For me to go public with my daughter's story, I thought it was important not only for Brieze to be heard, but, hopefully, assist other parents and other people struggling to come forth," said McCabe.
Come forth and share stories about their loved ones and let people know that even with addiction, Corey says these are people worthy of compassion.
"My daughter, Brieze, she had a son. His name is Kaybrian. He's a little over a year old right now. She was a great mom. She loved being a mom. She was crazy about her son. And, she was a human being. She deserves respect," McCabe said.
The death of his daughter just reinforced Corey's commitment to trying to break the stigma of addiction. And, point out that until people really commit to helping and not just judging, things won't improve. Which is tragic because he's convinced they can.
"It's a disease. It's a brain disease and people are dying because they're afraid to come forward because of public ridicule and that's nonsense that has to stop. Because treatment works and recovery is possible," McCabe stated.
In time spent with McCabe, he shared his views on family, drug dealers selling death and media needing to get more involved reporting solutions. But, at the end of the day, sharing the painful loss of his daughter is about a larger message.
"People in addiction, they do not want to live like that. Who wants to live like that? They want help, they just don't know how to get help. They're afraid to seek help," stated McCabe.
So, he hopes together people can help those who can't help themselves before anyone else loses a daughter, for goodness' sake.