“Thank you for your selflessness in sharing her story; Ellie truly saved me.”

First, thank you. Thank you for sharing with the world your family and your precious daughter and her message in the midst of unimaginable grief. I admire your tremendous bravery for pushing forward in a time when it would have been easier, and acceptable, to hide. Though I was never able to meet Ellie, I share many things in common with her: treasured friends, a zest for life, and a secret pain. Struggling with depression and anxiety from a young age, I had tried to ignore my symptoms until they became unbearable at the start of the school year last fall. In one of my most difficult semesters, I became someone I didn’t recognize. I wore masks to block out my closest friends and family members because I didn’t want to become their burden. However, upon hearing of Ellie’s death and reading your powerful words, I knew I needed to seek help. Talking to my parents, I began treatment for these issues and even became a volunteer at UMD’s Help Center, a peer counseling and crisis intervention hotline for issues ranging from roommate issues to suicide. Though some days are harder than others, I’m improving, little by little, each day. Without Ellie, I don’t know if I would’ve sought treatment; I don’t know if I’d be here. Thank you for your selflessness in sharing her story; Ellie truly saved me.