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!
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.