It's not every day that an obituary goes viral, but Madelyn Linsenmeir's obituary is not exactly typical.
Her family wrote a heartbreaking tribute that puts a spotlight on the human cost of America's ongoing opioid crisis, and it's almost impossible to read without shedding a tear.
But memories from Linsemeir's family prove she was more than just one more statistic.
"To some, Maddie was just a junkie."
Linsenmeir, who died at age 30 on October 7, was remembered as a "born performer" who "had a singing voice so beautiful it would stop people in the street."
But her family say she began taking drugs at age 16, after sampling OxyContin at a high school party.
In their obituary for Linsenmeir, published in the Burlington Free Press, they write that it's "impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug addiction."
But Linsenmeir's parents say their daughter was so much more than her addiction.
"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."
They also urged those who look down on drug users to "educate yourself about this disease, because that is what it is. It is not a choice or a weakness."
While Linsenmeir struggled to get sober, her family wrote that she was caught "in a system that seems to have hardened itself against addicts and is failing them every day."
Still, they say she "tried harder and more relentlessly to stay sober than we have ever seen anyone try at anything."
"Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late."
Linsenmeir's struggle with addiction would eventually take her life, as her sister revealed she died from a staph infection caused by drug use. But she is remembered best as a loving mother to her 4-year-old son, Ayden.
Her family wrote that after Ayden's birth in 2014, Linsenmeir worked even harder to try and shake that habit, and could always be counted on to spend time with her son.
"Every afternoon in all kinds of weather, she would put him in a backpack and take him for a walk," they said. "She so loved to snuggle him up, surrounding him with her love."
Sadly, Linsenmeir lost custody of Ayden in 2016, and her family say the "unbearable" change was difficult for her to cope with.
Still, they also remembered the bright spots in Linsenmeir's struggle, like 12 days of sobriety this summer that were "full of swimming and Disney movies and family dinners."
"But her addiction stalked her and stole her once again," they wrote.
"Every breath is a fresh start."
While Linsenmeir's story is tragic, her family want to give hope to other young people struggling to get clean.
They write that "every breath is a fresh start," and say to never give up hope, because they never gave up on Linsenmeir.
"Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you. Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late."
And readers say they did gain hope, or at least a new perspective, from Linsenmeir's obituary.
"This touches my heart deeply," one person commented on Linsenmeir's Facebook page. "I feel your pain and worry deeply for my child likewise."
And for any health professionals who would judge an addict seeking to turn their life around, Linsenmeir's family have harsh words.
"If instead you see a junkie or thief or liar in front of you rather than a human being in need of help, consider a new profession."
Instead of flowers, Linsenmeir's family ask for donations to the Turning Point Center, where they say she "spent time and felt supported."
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or mental health, you can get help confidentially by showing 1(800)662-HELP.
[H/T: Fox News]