Tornado Benefit

The people of Northwest Ohio have banded together (and continue to do so) to raise money for the victims of the June 5 tornado. People such as Oprah have come forward to help the little girl who is the lone survivor in her family. I think all of this is awesome. Even the band Nine Lives (who are friends with our brother) is playing at the July 11 benefit concert in mom's memory. That is a great gift, and I wish I could be there to thank them myself.

It has been asked if we would be getting any of those funds...the answer is no. We have not asked for money, and no one has offered it...and that is just fine.

No amount of money can replace my mom and how she kept my family together. Money cannot undo the trauma my sister an I will have to live the rest of our lives dealing with.Money cannot fix the mess we now face. Money cannot replace what the others have lost, but it can help them rebuild without having to put themselves into (or further) into debt. We did not directly lose a house or large amounts of personal property, so I can understand why we aren't considered "tornado victims." I contend we lost something much greater, but again money won't fix it.

Don't get me wrong, the idea of it is tempting. We have dad's medical bills, the question of where will he live once he is done with his rehab, a parsonage to move out of and other expenses. However, what price would we have to pay to get it. My siblings and I decided from day 1 (although Adam's girlfriend has threatened to write to Oprah and Ellen about us) we refused to be the poster children of this storm. Yes we did speak to the media about our mom (to 1 station) and it was on our terms. We could have played the, father just had a stroke, mom killed by the tornado...on the way home from the hospital, sisters also hit but survived and then the three of us are now left to care for our disabled father card. We could have milked the media, made the YouTube videos, and made ourselves media spectacles. Instead we hid from the press, made it impossible for them to get to my father (although someone tried by pretending to be me), and hung up on the AP and actually unplugged our phones when they kept calling. We made it clear we want the media to give us our privacy and many of our friends did as well. We could have sold our souls to the highest bidder, but we chose not to.

I am glad we did. I would rather the money go to people who have a chance to reclaim at least part of their life. Again money won't give me back anything I have lost.


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