Sadly, Julie Chandler and Paul DiGiacomo had been unsure if their daughter, Meghan, was still alive because they hadn't seen or heard from her and knew she was addicted to drugs. Then, they happened to be watching a CNN special about the nation's frightening opiate epidemic — and they spotted their beloved daughter being interviewed by a reporter.
Homeless, Meghan had been living on the streets of Boston near Methadone Mile, an infamous downtown stretch that has become a haven for homeless people addicted to heroin. She and another man with an addiction had been profiled by reporter Gary Tuchman on Anderson Cooper 360.
Shocked, Julie and Paul vowed that they wouldn't give up hope on their daughter — and Paul decided he had to do something extreme. The desperate father decided to go find her on the Boston streets, and he did — and then told her that he'd live there with her as a homeless person until she would agree to go get help for her illness. He also brought along her treasured pet, the family dog.
"I was literally sleeping here and I woke up to my dog licking my face and I looked, and my dad’s like, 'Alright, we’re all moved in,'" she told CNN.
"I’m not leaving until you get help or go to the hospital," he told her.
Now, the two sleep in plastic bags by the side of the road together, with Paul trying to make sure his daughter stays warm and doesn't overdose or die while he tries to convince her to get help. But the caring attitude goes both ways; Meghan confessed to waking up "100 times a night" to check on her dad.
"I feel alright for myself sleeping on the street, but I check on him 100 times during the night," she said. "That’s who I am. I always take care of other people before I take care of myself."
Despite many attempts at rehabilitation, Meghan says she's been unable to wean herself from heroin and that she's a "procrastinator" when it comes to trying rehab again. She has already lost her boyfriend to an overdose, she said.
When asked if his daughter was breaking his heart, Paul said: "Of course she is. My kids are everything to me, they really are."
"I’m never giving up on Meghan," her mom said to CNN. "She won’t die. She can’t."
A parent's love knows no bounds — and Paul DiGiacomo is proving it. While we're in awe of just how far this father's love will go, we can't imagine the pain and desperation families who are dealing with the troubling opiate epidemic must be facing.
Our fingers are crossed that Meghan decides to get help right away — and until then, we'll keep Meghan and her parents in our prayers.
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