I would like to thank my team for their vision and hard work creating this site. Most notably H.L. Wilson III with Addrock Web Development and Dominic Peters with Many Media.
I want to thank my brothers and sisters, Sam, Stacy, Shawna, Shelly, Shannon , Quinn and their mother Marcia. This journey has been difficult on all of us. Between our two families, domestic violence and abuse was a constant presence in our lives. Our unified love and understanding of Chris, and for each other, forever bonds us.
“The Love of Brothers & Sisters Never Dies ~ Eight Of Us Stand As One”
I also want to thank Jon Krakauer for his continued friendship, support and encouragement.
Though I write this almost twenty years after Chris’s passing, I still miss him terribly every day. I know he would not want me to focus on that sadness, so from the very beginning I have done all that I can to mold that energy into something positive. Consulting on the book and movie was an important and cathartic experience for me. I am proud of the results. I am determined to continue to be his voice and carry on his message. Through him I have learned that with truth comes freedom, with confidence comes courage, with priority comes real life. Start now because in the end, your life should have been about living, not just existing.
Being an outgoing yet private person, I only recently made myself available to the outside world through this extreme machine of Internet and social media. I receive messages daily from people all over the world about Chris. They tell me how their experience with our story has influenced their lives in very powerful and meaningful ways. Often times these stories are deeply personal and beautiful. The impact Chris has made crosses over the common lines drawn by age, environment, race, religion, finance… and maps. His intent resonates with individuals from all walks of life.
I honestly did not expect the attraction to his story to be so timeless. I could not have imagined that so many people would still be looking for me. With the help of Jon Krakauer I came to a realization. With the book being printed in 28 different languages, and being required reading at universities all over the globe, Chris and his story are new to millions of eyes every year. Those eyes then look to me for answers, and their compassion reaches out to me as a true connection to Chris. By this I am honored.
As my youngest daughter began school full time and my schedule eased, it seemed more prudent to finally embrace this destiny. To do the most good with it rather than continue to work only from behind the scenes. That resulted in my accepting an invitation to join the Random House Speakers Bureau. My presentations range from a wide variety of topics that align with lessons I have learned from Chris’s life and from my own journey. Speaking engagements include lectures at a university level that span several concentrations, as well as corporate gatherings, seminars, private functions, arts festivals, etc.
I am currently writing a companion book for Into The Wild with Dr. Doug Kennedy that will include the development of engaging “First Year Experiences” to be utilized at the college level. The goal is to reach students at that crucial time in their lives, when they begin to determine their own path and shape their own destiny. To teach them these most valuable lessons about individualism, courage, motivation, and moral character.
I work to perpetuate Chris’s legacy and the remarkable effect he continues to have on people. My ambition is to expand these opportunities within this society, with the hope that people will learn to think outside of themselves, while at the same time empowering their individuality to make a difference in this world. I feel that Chris was a fortuitous teacher. I want to help continue his philosophy of what truly matters in this life, a message I feel needs to be heard now more than ever. I do this in loving memory of Chris, in honor of our brothers & sisters and their children, and for my own children.
My youngest daughter that I mentioned previously is named after Chris. She has Down Syndrome. I definitely call her by the right name. Like her Uncle she is very bright, strong spirited and determined. I know this Earth will benefit from her as much as she will benefit from it. I tell you this because like Chris I feel a responsibility to help those less fortunate. Seeing the struggles that other parents of special needs children go through, makes me realize every day how blessed I am that Christiana is exceptionally healthy and independent. I aim to help those families that are dealing with the difficult circumstances of future care for their special needs child. I concentrate my efforts with local charity Promise Places – a 501 c 3 non-profit organization that aims to assist citizens with moderate mental disabilities to live happy and independent lives – to enable them to participate within and contribute to their communities.
The problem is this. Respectable long-term care for this disadvantaged population is a growing national crisis, something most citizens are unaware of. Appropriate adult care is often unavailable or unaffordable. This concern is not being adequately addressed by the private sector and government funding is limited. Yet the same government that cannot provide for them places a ceiling on their work hours and earning potential so they cannot provide for themselves. Adding to the problem, federal laws restrict the families ability to leave assets behind for these children without researching, establishing and investing in expensive special needs trusts. Many of these families are struggling with the day-to-day health and developmental concerns of their children and cannot even begin to navigate through these requirements.
Refusing these individuals this dignity and opportunity for independence is simply absurd and illogical. From an economic perspective, it is also financially wasteful and irresponsible. My proactive goal is to solve the needs of this generation and prepare for the next. I hope to raise awareness and address this crisis at a local level, then expand the effort to national advocacy for these very special citizens of this country. You can find out more about Promise Places and my work with them at the link listed below. If you feel inspired to do so, please consider making a donation. I am greatly appreciative and will be personally notified of all donations made in Chris’s memory.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, and hope that fate might lend a chance for our paths to someday meet.
Honor Each Day,