Hope. I used to hate this word. I feared sharing Kacy's story concluding no one wanted to hear anything that wasn't about recovery. In fact, I supposed others were afraid of our story, as if her death was contagious. But my isolation and grief was debilitating and I could no longer tolerate the loneliness. Although painful, I was confident sharing our story was vital to help make change. With some trepidation, I decided to get involved. I began going to conferences, blogging and advocating. Almost immediately something beautiful happened, I found community and began to heal.
Last year my mom and I attended the first annual DC MOM March! I had no idea what to expect and was a bit nervous. My fear was immediately eased as we were warmly welcomed, brought to the table to make our poster and were given t-shirts. We wore green shirts symbolizing we had lost someone. As soon as those shirts went on, the love, hugs and interest in our journey was moving and rendered me a bit speechless. Taking in the sea of purple and green shirts all holding beautiful posters of those they marched for, I witnessed the power of standing together. As family members, clinicians, friends and sufferers, we were a strong voice. Listening to moving speeches, music and personal stories brought a sense of empowerment. While my family had lost our fight, we took action, one step to help prevent others from this same fate.
I will absolutely be marching again this year. I will march for my sister Kacy. I will march with other new and seasoned advocates all sharing the passion and courage to fight for real change in prevention, education, treatment and coverage. While it may seem like a long journey, when we stand together we will get Anna's Law passed! We will help end the egregious health insurance battles and increase funding for better treatment and research!
We will also stand together to end the silence, end the shame and remind us all, we are not alone!