Kathrine Ellen Folker

Kathrine Ellen Folker

A pure and innocent heart

Kathrine was a free spirit, loved by everyone who knew her. She had a beautiful singing voice and competed in voice competitions while in high school. Her biggest joy in life was travel, she visited many countries in her short life and made the most of each and every destination. Her major talent and her legacy was her ability to make everyone feel valued and included. She always stuck up for kids who were bullied and had tremendous empathy for everyone.

At 5’2, Kathrine was tiny but mighty, and very determined. In training for lifeguard certification, there were doubts that she would have the strength to retrieve a full-grown, unresponsive man from the bottom of the pool, but she prevailed and received her certification. Her mom, Caroline, has a fond memory of a family skiing trip when Kathrine’s ski got stuck in the ski lift of the bunny slope. She fell off the lift and was being dragged up the hill on her butt. “Only Kathrine!” her mom said.

Kathrine earned her CNA license while still in high school and started working at a nursing home in the Alzheimer’s ward. She loved her patients, and they loved her. She planned to go to nursing school, but at 18 Kathrine realized she had a substance use disorder and had the insight and drive to voluntarily seek treatment. While at Oxford House, she helped many people, her mom said. “It was a hopeful time and encouraging to see everyone working together.” But Kathrine was a bit scared about her future, as she suffered from depression and anxiety. She wisely put her life plans on hold while she dealt with her mental health issues and substance use disorder. Through it all, Kathrine was still known for her big, happy, radiant smile.

Kathrine was extremely close to her younger sister, Lauren, who was only 17 when Kathrine passed away. Like the rest of the family, she misses her bright presence every day. Her mother says the hardest part of Kathrine’s addiction was not being able to save her. “Despite our best efforts, we failed, and that impacts my life every day,” her mom said.

Caroline has started a parent support group, Families Overcoming Drug Addiction (FODA), to share common experiences around addiction and learn from speakers who provide information about addiction, stigma, and its effects on the family.

Kathrine’s mother, Caroline Folker, provided the information for this narrative.

December 7, 1995-August 7, 2015

Age 19-Lived with addiction one year

Share this story from The INTO LIGHT Project

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

More Into Light Stories

Read more biographies from this exhibit.
Devin Hart Bearden

Devin Hart Bearden

Caring, athletic, bright, witty, attractive At 6’2”, Devin was lanky, handsome, and a natural athlete. Equally at home on a skateboard, snowboard, or when surfing, he was a pleasure to watch; so fluid and graceful. He was a good soccer and baseball player and loved hiking in nature or being at the beach, especially on the annual family beach trips to Hatteras in North Carolina. [...]
Read More »
Jesse Lee Adam

Jesse Lee Adam

Loving, kind, helpful, funny, smart When Jesse was young, he loved being outside, playing basketball, riding four-wheelers, fishing, and spending time with friends. He was also a big Steelers fan. He and his younger brother, Cody, were best friends, and sometimes rivals. Cody and Jesse loved to cook together, something they learned sitting on the counter, watching their dad, who passed away in 2018. [...]
Read More »
Nicholas Aaron Adams

Nicholas Aaron Adams

Beautiful, loved, adventurous, smart, precious Nick was a beautiful old soul with insightful views on life. He was incredibly smart and talented, with a knack for computers, music and all things creative. He loved the outdoors and was full of wonder and joy for plants and creatures of all kinds. Nick was a loyal friend and brother and deeply loved by everyone he met. His family has heard many stories about how much he meant to others.[...]
Read More »
Phillip A. Baldwin

Phillip A. Baldwin

Challenging, adventurous, deep thinker, the most loving person known When not using drugs, Phil was the most loving, fun, kind, caring, and selfless person. He helped others before himself and always kept a room laughing. He supported others in their struggles and truly wanted to find a way out of his substance use disorder. Phil was an outstanding lacrosse and soccer player who loved exploring the woods, being in nature, and had a love for animals and children.[...]
Read More »

Bring an Exhibit to Your State

Interested in bringing The INTO LIGHT Project to your State?
Find out how you can make this happen.