Sunday, May 10, 2015

Reesa's Legacy to continue with a DVD and phone App

Reesa’s Legacy

My daughter, Reesa Kammerman, was involved in a tragic car accident on July 12, 2013. She died three times that day, each time being resuscitated. However, 16 days later she died for the last time.

Ten months after her death a video she had made was discovered on the computer. It is a heart wrenching video that lasts only a few minutes but ends with a beautiful message of hope!  In the video she tells of her challenges in life and how she overcame them. And she tells it all without saying a word!

We had an overwhelming feeling to share it. We call the video “Reesa’s Legacy”.

When the video was uploaded to YouTube we received several phone calls from various news outlets asking to tell her story.  

Once the stories were out we received so many comments and learned how Reesa’s message has helped so many people. The response was so great that I knew we had to do something more to help even more people.  

We are making a short documentary of her life. We have hired an interviewer and videographer to create a documentary of Reesa’s life. It will document her challenges and triumphs, her fears and faith and her ultimate triumph of unlocking the secrets of coping with her challenges.

Teachers, counselors, hospital staff, relatives and friends will be interviewed to get different perspectives of her life. We have also hired singers, songwriters and musicians to write songs using her journal entries as the inspiration for the songs so it will be from a first person perspective.

Once the DVD is completed, we will be launching a free phone app that will give resources and help to those that have similar struggles in life.  

Our family had learned the hard way how to deal with and overcome these obstacles. We don’t want others to have to learn the same way.

I remember the first time that I walked into Reesa’s room and saw her cutting and the blood was everywhere. I didn’t know what to do and was almost frozen with shock. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to call the counselor. She was able to guide me and helped us with the next steps.

And then there was the  bulimia and suicide attempts as an additional way she tried to deal with the pain of the rapes and sexual abuse and the resulting court trial.

There was so much trial and error as we tried to find the best way to help Reesa and our family. Over time we learned so much and acquired the tools to help us. It turned out that all the resources were out there but we didn’t know where to find them.

How much better off we could have been if we learned of these resources earlier. But we ended up stumbling thru things while we found out about the answers we were looking for. Everything from support groups and counseling to crisis lines and hospitals.

Unfortunately during this time we also had to learn how to deal with and ignore the stigma and labels people put on us. To say it was difficult is a gross understatement. 

How I wish we would have had a place to go to so we could have learned sooner and spared weeks and months of trial and error. As a result of our experiences we are designing a phone app that will be a one stop shop to learn about the topics and the resources to help individuals and families know where to get help.

We will be working closely with counselors, hospitals, teachers and law enforcement to put together a very practical and helpful app. It will be full of resources, links to support groups and phone numbers for help. (The resources are already out there. People just need to be pointed in the right direction.)

It will help parents and family members, as well as classmates and friends. It will give tips and help to answer tough questions. 

Some of those questions are:  
Why does my daughter have an eating disorder and what can I do to help?
My child is cutting, what should I do?
What can I do if I am being bullied at school and I'm getting so angry?
My friend is talking a lot about suicide...what now?

One night while pondering what to do a stream of ideas came into my mind and I started writing. Reesa had gone thru so many different types of struggles throughout her life and I started to list them. After I listed them I realized that she was able to relate to so many people and that they could relate to her. Other teenagers seem to relate more to her than the adults in their life. Here’s 
the topics that we will be addressing on the app:

·             Suicide (hot lines, prevention)
·             Self-harm
·             Eating disorders
·             Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional)
·             Bullying
·             Step family
·             Depression & metal illness
·             Substance abuse & addictions (drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling)
·             Dating violence
·             Grief, death, dying, illness, counseling
·             Teen pregnancy
·             Running away

But it won’t stop there. We want to help remove the stigma and misconceptions surrounding those that have different type of struggles 
in their lives. This will help educate classmates, family members and friends. We want to empower people to overcome their challenges 
be an advocate to help others do the same. The app will be designed to help uplift and give daily encouragement by sending out messages 
of hope and inspiration to their phones throughout the day.

This project is being made possible by people donating their time and talents and discounting their services. We are self-funding this project but will be open to donations should anyone be inclined.

This app and documentary will be free to everyone!

You can get to know Reesa more by looking at the past posts on this blog.

The launch will be on her Celebration of Life on July 28th.