Kathy B. O’Keefe established the nonprofit organization Winning the Fight in 2010 following the death of her 18-year-old son from an accidental drug overdose. Serving as the founder and executive director, she endeavors to provide education, support and other resources to teens and families dealing with drug addiction issues. Through Winning the Fight, she organizes and conducts support group meetings, workshops and various education-based programs, in addition to doing more behind the scenes work with organization marketing and grant writing. Their newest program is called “Better Safe Than Sorry,” which encourages families to get biometric safes for their medications as part of the BetteRx Safe program.
Attributing much of her success to her ability to stay on top of everything, Ms. O’Keefe hopes to see an increase in education about drug addition as a disease best managed through prevention and support as opposed to criminalization. To that end, she has begun collaborating with several county and municipal courts to require study into drug addiction recovery, resources for which are available of the Winning the Fight website. In 2018, Ms. O’Keefe was invited to Washington, D.C., where she was one of 200 participants in the White House Opioid Summit and one of eight people invited to testify before the Congressional Committee on Opioid Abuse.
Furthermore, Ms. O’Keefe has produced two documentaries about families struggling with addiction, including “Not Me” in 2014 and, more recently, “Just Once” in 2021. She emphasizes that support is key to recovery from drug addiction and it is not a process that can truly be managed alone. For her, the most gratifying moments in her career are when she gets to see young people turn their lives around from addiction to having happy, healthy and successful lives. Coming from a 35-year career in architecture, Ms. O’Keefe is proud to have made the transition from making buildings beautiful to helping to make people beautiful through her work in drug education and advocacy.
Hoping to leave a legacy as someone who was able to make a difference, Ms. O’Keefe would advise young and aspiring professionals to always believe in themselves. For her excellence, she was presented with a Humility Award by Sierra Tucson in 2019 and an Outstanding Citizenship Award from the town of Flower Mound, Texas, in 2016. She was named a Champion for Kids by the Lewisville Independent School District for 2014-2015 and recognized as a Recovery All Star by the University of North Texas chapter of Eagle Peer Recovery. Ms. O’Keefe’s work has also led her to be interviewed and featured on various news outlets including Fox News, Dallas Morning News, the Cross Timbers Gazette, and more.