For Kathi Green, Jan. 10, 2017 marks one year since the worst day of her life. She learned early that morning an inmate had died in custody.


“I watched the 6 o’clock news and they talked about an inmate dying in the Anchorage Jail but they didn’t have a name,” she recalled. “8:30 at night, my doorbell rings and that’s when I found out it was my daughter that died in the Anchorage jail.”


Kellsie Green, 24, died from complications from a heroin withdrawal while incarcerated. Her name was one of dozens read aloud at the Remembering Those Lost to Addiction memorial on Tuesday.


Green said her daughter struggled with addiction for years and the family tried to find her the right treatment.


“She wanted to be loved and not judged and she was so full of love. I didn’t judge her,” Kathi Green said. “I did everything I could to help her and all we did was find dead ends, road blocks and waiting lists.”


Kathi Green knows her family isn’t the only one dealing with a loss like this.


Bean’s Café executive director Lisa Sauder’s 23-year-old son Tucker died from a heroin overdose on Dec. 3, 2016. Sauder told KTVA on Christmas Day that she’s sharing her story to get people to end the stigma of heroin addiction.


“It doesn’t go away. It’s not going to go away,” she said. “I’m hoping we can do something good from this loss.”


Kathi Green said she wants Kellsie Green to be remembered for her kind spirit, not her addiction.


“I hope people see that Kellsie was a person and a loving person and all of our children that have been lost to addiction are children,” she said. “They all have their own stories. They all have families.”


Kathi Green wants those families to come together to start talking and stop heroin use in our community.


KTVA 11’s Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.