When I moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania, it was to start my life over. In 2005, I was shot during in a robbery in PA in 2005. I went to get a pack of cigarettes and my life was never the same. I took six shots to the core my stomach. I laid in a coma for several weeks and then was in a medically induced coma for 45 days. When I finally woke up I had to relearn how to walk, talk and live again.
But that was nothing compared to the battles I endured when trying to get financial help as a victim of violence.
I live 2 blocks from the theater where the shooting took place and I cry every time I drive by just saying I am so sorry since there is little I can do. When I heard that the Aurora victims' families had only received 7% of the funds that were raised in their names, I knew I had to fight for them.
As a victim of a violent crime, I know just how difficult it is to heal from the physical and emotional wounds. And that's why I'm calling on the organizations responsible for distributing the funds to victims to make sure all of the families get each and every penny that they are owed, and that they do so in the most transparent way possible.
I fought for years against a system of victims' assistance that was just as broken as my body had been. Enough is enough. These organizations used pictures of victims' dead children and family members to raise money -- money that these families might never see.
Join me in asking the 7/20 Recovery Committee, Community First and Giving First to do the right thing and immediately disburse all of the money raised directly to victims and their families. If they cannot do so, the victims should have the right to hire a law firm and set the money up as a trust so they have direct access to and control of the funds.