Waunakee community comes together after mental illness and addiction-related deaths

WAUNAKEE VILLAGE, Wis. (WMTV) – The Village of Waunakee came together on Saturday after what has been a difficult few years in the community: losing people of all ages to depression and substance abuse. Community leaders want to make sure people in difficulty know there are resources to help them, and a group of singers, speakers and storytellers known as Project Brave made it their mission on Saturday.

After watching her community lose loved ones to mental illness and addiction, Waunakee resident Kerri Kane knew she had to do something.

“I had an idea a few years ago when there was a loss, wouldn’t it be fun to bring some light to the community?” she says. “Instead of sinking and sinking and being sad about it, let’s do something to bring positivity.”

Waunakee Project Brave was born. A collective of local singers, speakers and storytellers sharing resources and experiences, including Michelle Kullmann. She lost her 18-year-old son, Cade Reddington, in November after taking what he thought was a Percocet pill. Turns out it was mixed with fentanyl.

“He fell asleep on the beanbag chair, and he was dying in front of everyone and nobody knew because nobody knew those fake pills would kill you,” Kullmann said at the event.

It’s stories like this that inspire Kerri to organize Project Brave.

“Let’s bring the community together because we have so much at our disposal that we don’t even realize,” she said. “Talking about topics and bringing things to light. We are not alone.”

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