Earlier this evening I had the pleasure of speaking with the lovely Lisa Fine, one of many that created the Organization “Route 91 Strong”, as survivors helping other survivors in need. I was able to share with Lisa mine and my husbands story and I’d like to share it with you all as well, for those of you that don’t know, David and I got engaged at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2016, and we decided to return in 2017 for our Honeymoon. We had just got married a week prior on September 20, 2017 and about 2 weeks before that we found out we were expecting our first baby. On the night of October 1st, we experienced the worst thing I’ve ever been faced with. Along with the 22,000 others that were there. My husband knew right away what was happening and he got us out of there as quickly as possible, knocking down a fence and stopping a truck to ask for a ride to safety. All I kept thinking in that moment was that we were just starting our lives together, we haven’t even got to hold our baby yet. We are so blessed to have made it out together.
Following the shooting everything took a downward spiral. Due to the pregnancy I was unable to get confirmation of my believed injuries which included a sprained shoulder and cracked rib from being trampled on. Sleepless nights turned into nights of nightmares, I would have constant panic attacks, I couldn’t be alone, I refused to leave the house or even get out of bed unless I absolutely had to. My husband got demoted at work for taking time off to care for me. I was never able to return to work. We had to move out of our apartment because we couldn’t afford to live, bills stacked up. Some days I felt so hopeless I would question whether or not I was even going to be able to be a mother to our baby. Adoption crossed my mind, as awful as I feel admitting that, I didn’t know what else to do. We applied for assistance through several resources and it always fell through some way or another. Some days I just wanted to give up.
Well, It’s been a little over 5 months and for the first time I feel this weight lifted off our shoulders and for the first time, I actually believe there is hope out there for us. Thanks to Lisa and her team at Route 91 Strong, we are finally going to receive some assistance to help us get above drowning waters. I wish I could embrace this team with hugs and truly show them just how grateful we are for helping us.
Route 91 Strong are survivors helping survivors, and it just humbles me that these souls have found it inside themselves to fight the evil and darkness that this incident has brought upon us, and to turn it around and help others in need, Especially knowing that they too are healing from this. They really have given me strength and hope to hold on and fight to overcome this. I finally feel like I can take a breath and actually just be excited for our sweet babygirl to arrive in a few weeks, rather than stress about being so behind. So again from the bottom of my heart, from my family to yours, thank you so so so much for all you have done and continue to do. I hope one way or another we are able to pay it forward and help to contribute and help others in need as well.
Giving Back Among Us
Survivors Helping Survivors to a Whole New Level
In reality, everyone at some point in their life should want to “give back.” We know this phrase gets tossed around a lot and it can mean different things to different people. For us at Route91Strong, “giving back,” means allocating our time to the less fortunate instead of writing checks. We take pride to “give back” by bringing together a unique set of people and skills to raise funds for those suffering from the aftermath of gun violence tragedies like what happened at the Route91 Harvest concert on October 1, 2017. For us, this is difficult because we are also all dealing with the same repercussions on our bodies both physical and mental as the survivors we help.
April 21, 2018, was perhaps the most remarkable example of “giving back” we have experienced since our non-profit started. We have indeed two individual heroes to thank. The first hero is the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The second and even more impactful hero is Luca Iclodean. Luca was shot on October 1 at the Route 91 event. In the days following, a collection fund was established at the property to help Luca in his recovery. Because of those efforts, Team Members and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Management raised nearly $11,000.
When the property of the recovery funds informed Luca, he was overwhelmed from the support, so he told them to pay it forward since he had received so much support from family, friends and the community. He asked Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to ‘pay it forward’ and donate the funds directly to Route91Strong so that it could help others in need. The funds for the distribution were donated to Route91Strong by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas Team Members and Management in honor of their colleague and 1 October survivor, Luca Iclodean.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino hosted for us on this special day our Route91Strong family at the Vanity Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This venue enabled us to create a celebration of “giving back.” We invited some of our eligible local survivors to Las Vegas who have gone through our platform to receive donation checks to come and celebrate with Luca and us at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The funds from this donation affected eleven special survivors.
This evening we were also honored with a performance by Elvis Monroe, consisting of Bryan Hopkins and Ben Carey who performed a particular song, “The Fight.” This song was created for our first benefit event, held in last November in memory of this tragic mass shooting. It was such an inspiring night full of tears of joy and sorrow. Between the speeches and the remembrance, we could reflect and be thankful that our passionate cause is working to be able to provide hope, strength, and love and catch precious souls before they fall.
We have been blessed to have raised close to $70,000 so far affecting 30 lives. Just a fraction of the more likely than not 10,000 or more who are suffering from wounds both physical and mental like tremendous PTSD as a result of the tragic Route91 Harvest concert mass shooting in Las Vegas. We will continue on this journey to affect hundreds of thousands more across the US affected by gun violence by holding events and attracting donors who believe in our cause. Please join our cause and “give back.” We need not only money, but we need much in-kind help. It feels so good to not just do something for that one-time occasion that many understand and relate to as “giving back” but making it a lifestyle and perhaps lifetime effort.