Monday, September 8, 2014

Mended by Love

Before I continue, I wanted to take a moment to remember Tina Downey, fellow blogger who recently lost her life. This is for you, Tina. May you rest in peace, in the arms of our Father in Heaven.

                                                   photo credit: www.seedsofeaden.com


Today I want to share a very special project and person with you. I've introduced you to her briefly before, but we are now going public with this story and project, and I know you'll be as eager to learn more as I was.

 artwork by Carrie Butler at Forward Authority

Every so often we get the local newspaper delivered to our home even though we don't subscribe. One day early last summer this happened and I decided to browse it. Usually it goes right to the recycle bin, but for some reason I was inclined to look through it. 

I stumbled onto an article about a young lady named Queena, and I was knocked off my rocker. Some of you already know the story because I blogged about her during the A to Z challenge on Q day. I wanted to share her website with all of you so you could learn her story. For those of you who don't know, six years ago after Queena had just turned eighteen, she was returning books to her local library late one night and was attacked at the book drop.

She was strangled, beaten, raped, and left for dead in  the swamp behind the library. Luckily, she'd been on the phone with her best friend when the first blow happened and her friend heard her scream. Immediately she called Queena's mother and the police. 

They were able to find her in time to save her life, but Queena's life has been drastically altered. She was hurt so severely that she suffered multiple brain injuries, losing mobility and motor skills, requiring a wheelchair to get around. Not only that, but because of the damage to her brain, Queena can no longer speak or feed herself, and only has about %10 of her vision. 

But she's still here, and still fights for her health every day. She has not given up. Her strength is so inspiring. Her hearing is sharp and she understands and can process information. She listens to music and audio books, and she recognizes voices and responds with sounds and movements. 



She still requires round the clock care, and I believe there's sophisticated technology out there that could make Queena's life even easier. The problem of course is funding. 

So after I read that article that day, I noticed a Facebook page for Queena and liked it. Please head over and do the same if you get a minute. 

Not long after, I received a generic fundraiser event notice for Queena at a local restaurant and I brought my kids and we met Queena and her mom. I'd been touched so deeply by this story that I couldn't stop thinking about her. I imagined what it must've been like--having your entire life ahead of you with so many possibilities and only weeks away from high school graduation .... only to be robbed of everything you'd worked for and hoped for. 

Later, when I embraced my indie author status and kicked off my Facebook author page (which I was so hesitant to do because it meant owning up to the writer life with family and non-writer friends) Queena's mother, Vanna, noticed the page. She contacted me and expressed her interest in finding a writer to tell her daughter's story. I didn't have a doubt in my mind that I wanted to do this, to not only help this amazing family share their story, but to stretch my writerly skills into the world of memoir and non-fiction. I've read so many memoirs and have quite a passion for them, so this connection was ideal in so many ways. 



In short, I'm privileged and honored to be writing this mother's memoir of faith and forgiveness--a mother's true story of the night her daughter's life changed forever, and the courage, love and support that's kept them pressing on despite the greatest challenges anyone could ever face.    

 As you can imagine, because of the need for round the clock care, as well as continued rehabilitation and therapy, Queena's family is always looking for ways to raise money. This memoir project will hopefully be a source of income once it's finished, published, and selling. Not only will it share Queena's and her mom's story with the world, it will also raise awareness of violence against women, brain injuries, and self-defense. This memoir is meant to have a positive message, even though the night of the attack is emotional. It's the love and support surrounding the aftermath that will warm your hearts. 

She's come so far already! Able to walk short distances with the help of specialized equipment!

I wanted to do whatever I could to help raise funds and raise awareness of the project, so I began a Kickstarter campaign. Now, I'm not here asking you for money, I'm simply asking for you to share this project with your audience. Post it on all your social media outlets and watch it grow with me. Even if every person who saw it chipped in $1, we'd meet our goal and prove to Queena and her mom that people out there really do care. 

You all know how slow the publishing path can be, and although Kickstarter does not support funding charities, it does support the arts, and this memoir is an artistic project. Whatever the future of this project holds, it will be good to know there are people who already support it and are waiting to see it come to life. 

Please grab one of these fantastic buttons that were donated by artists, Carrie Butler and DA Botta, and post them everywhere with the below link. If you can blog about it, great! If you can share in your newsletter and author pages, wonderful! This project only works if we meet our goal. Tweets, shares and posts all most welcome!

      
                                     

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pkhrezo/mended-by-love-a-mothers-memoir-of-faith-and-forgi


Thank you so much for any effort you put into sharing this for this very special young lady who never got to college, or got to reach her degree in fashion design. She never even got to prom. Her dress still hangs in her closet, unworn.

Let's show our support together. Please head to the campaign page to view Queena's video.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please feel free to use any of the info provided above. It's very much encouraged.

Tell me, have you ever written a memoir? Ever wanted to? Do true life stories like this make you appreciate the human spirit even more? Or do they leave you depressed? My feeling is when we share life's tribulations, we ease each other's pain. 

46 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

What an honor to be asked! Since you are already passionate about this young woman's story, you will do an amazing job with it. Be happy to spread the word, PK.

Chrys Fey said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I certainly remember your A to Z post on Queena, and I think what you're doing is amazing!

I've never written a memoir, but I was asked twice and had to pass up on it because I felt like I wasn't ready to take them on.

I wish you the best of luck with this project, and I will do my best to spread the word.

Jay Noel said...

Wow. You are awesome for sharing Queena's story. Such inspiration.

Jennifer Ruth Jackson said...

Posted the link on Twitter, totally worthy thing you're doing.
I hope it takes off like wildfire. Her story needs to be told, often.

SC Author said...

This is freaking AMAZING. Although I'm not able to donate as of right now, I'll share the links. This is really incredible. I can't wait to read this memoir. You'll do it justice.

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's so awesome you agreed to help so much and are writing the memoir. Good luck with it and the Kickstarter campaign. Will try to spread the word for you.

Catherine Stine said...

Queena's tale is very moving! And Carrie B's artwork is inspiring. Good luck with working on that memoir. It's admirable when writers go with their true leadings, and trust in wherever they may lead.

Elephant's Child said...

This has touched my heart. Thank you.
Is there any way I can give to the Kickstarter without FB (I am an dinosaur and don't play).

Elephant's Child said...

Ignore my last comment. I persevered and have donated.

Robin said...

Wow. I just know that this is going to impact your life in a positive way... and Queena's too!!!!

cleemckenzie said...

This is wonderful, PK. What a life altering event for you, too!

William Kendall said...

I remember Queenie's story. It's wonderful that you've taken this on.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, PK,

I remember when you posted about this.... It struck every chord in my heart...

What a wonderful gift Queen and her family have in you.

As soon as my life stops spinning in circles, I"ll definitely spread the word.

Sending you BIG hugs... you deserve them.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Missing Tina... :(

What a wonderful memoir! Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story! <3

♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

Norma Beishir said...

I'll be happy to do whatever I can, PK! I know you'll do a great job on the memoir.

I'm working on my own right now. It's not easy to write one's own story, especially when it covers a particularly dark period, and even though this not your own story, I think you'll find yourself struggling at times.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Such a great project to be involved in. I'll do what I can, happily :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Such a great project to be involved in. I'll do what I can, happily :)

E.J. Wesley said...

You know I'll help with this great project! Got the button up on my blog. :)

Melissa said...

Wow. Awesome.

Katgirl Studio said...

This post made me tear up and thanks EJ for sharing it with me. I'll be making a post about it tomorrow across my network for sure.

Michelle Wallace said...

I remember your post about Queena...
Reading about the way in which you met her and her mum, and the entire sequence of events, has left me with the thought that YOU were meant to write the memoir...
and it will probably impact your life (and many others too), in ways you cannot even imagine...
#Life is good!

Ellie Garratt said...

I never felt compelled to back a Kickstarter campaign until today. If you need any help in the future, let me know.

Arlee Bird said...

Queena's story is a sad one, but stories like these need to be told. She's fortunate to have so much support behind her.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Intangible Hearts said...

You are telling this story well and I believe you're helping her PK. I tweeted it and will continue to share your participation.

Julie Musil said...

Wow, wow, wow. What an amazing story. Fate brought you all together, that's for sure. I'm happy to know you, and happy to spread the word. Thanks for the beautiful work you're doing.

Carrie Butler said...

You know I'll help any way I can!

Carrie Butler said...

You know I'll help any way I can!

Angela Brown said...

My tears came a bit fast and hard. It's a terrible thing that happened to this young woman. Yet a part of me was struck deeper to the core as a mother of a young girl. With this act being so violent, it just rips at a part of you. I shared on my FB page immediately after reading.

Her story must be told. And it's wonderful that you're doing this. I feel you will do this true justice.

M Pax said...

What an amazing young woman and an amazing project. Tweeted.

Lynda R Young said...

This will be an amazing story that must be told and told again. Sharing.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Truly inspiring. I just know you'll do a fantastic job.
I'll help to spread the word.
Best of luck.

Thank you for posting for Tina.

Heather

Jo said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I wish everyone involved the very best of luck and hope your story will go well. I will display one of the buttons on my blog.

Julie Flanders said...

Oh wow, I remember when you first wrote about Queena and I was so touched by her story then and now. How wonderful you've been asked to write this memoir! I know you will do an amazing job. Will definitely help spread the word.

PK Hrezo said...

Thank you so much, all of you, for all your support! I'm so glad I get to share this journey with you.

Anne Marie Schlueter said...

Wow. Totally teared up when reading this.

Trisha F said...

I hadn't heard about her before today - but what an amazing young lady she is! How horrible that her life got turned so upside down. But she is certainly a fighter & I so admire that in her!

J. Lenni Dorner said...

Thanks for remembering Tina.

I "liked" the Facebook page.
That's horrible- what happened to her. Good for you for getting her story out there.

Pam Margolis said...

Wow. What an amazing story. I'm speechless.

Shell Flower said...

What an amazing project. Sad, yet rewarding. Good luck. Also, if you haven't read it yet, read Her, a Memoir by Christa Paravani. It would be good research.

Shannon Lawrence said...

From the way you speak about this, I'm certain you'll do her story justice. And what a heartbreaking story it is.

geophf said...

I am praying for you and for Queena; retweeted.

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