First Passion Drivers Interview with Amy Kiel

15 10 2009

Welcome to our first interview on the Passion Drivers blog! We are honored to have Amy Kiel be the first person to be highlighted on this blog sharing her deep passion for causes close to her heart.

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First, a little history of how I came to know Amy and consider her a good friend. The power of social media and Twitter in this case is very evident in that I met Amy on Twitter when I noticed her tweeting about #suicideprevention and other causes she deeply believes in. I found out she is a local KC person and got to talk to her more. We did finally get to meet IRL (In Real Life) at the last KCTwestival held at The Brooksider.

When I decided to create a blog that focuses on people and their passions (inspired by Danny Brown’s post on Passion Drivers), I knew the first person I wanted to feature was Amy Kiel.

Also with an upcoming walk she will be participating in, I wanted to bring attention to the cause she is supporting and see if we can help rally behind Amy as she walks.

Please take time to read her story and what drives her in her passions.

1) Tell us about yourself:

My name is Amy Kiel…I am in my mid thirties, married with 2 children ages 4 and 10. I am passionate about so many things… it is hard to wrap myself up in a summary sometimes. I have many interests and hobbies, such as writing, art, reading, music …   I am a believer. I am a survivor. I am now a more engaged player in this game of life. I have battled with major depression, anxiety disorder, and other similar issues since my teenage years and continue to contend with these things. I have so many, many blessings and also enough challenges, that I feel no need to ask for more. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2006, after a very difficult and taxing pregnancy with my youngest child. I am continually learning to live a more full and joyful life, I consider myself the perpetual student!

2) What is one thing that you are truly passionate about?

One BIG thing that I am passionate about is raising awareness in regards to the need for suicide prevention efforts and supporting the efforts that are already in place for this important issue. I want to help spread the message of how widespread this issue is and to help erase the stigma associated with it. I want to be a part of the education process so that fewer lives will be lost to suicide!

3) What encouraged you to follow this passion?

First and foremost, my own personal experience with suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts makes this a topic close to my heart. I have attempted to take my own life on two separate occasions in the past. I have also lost loved ones to suicide, including my own grandfather. I know that I am still here for a reason, and I believe that part of that reason is to spread hope and healing to others. I don’t have all my “stuff” together, but I am a real person who can relate on both sides of this “coin”. I may be able to help others understand why a loved one might consider or attempt to take their own life. I may also be able to help others because I understand the stigma surrounding the issue and why the grieving process can be so hard for those who have lost loved ones in this manner. It is my personal connection along with my desire to help prevent the further loss of lives (even including my own), that fuels my passion to spread the word, take action, and participate in efforts to prevent suicide and raise awareness.

4) What do you want others to know about your passion? (i.e. Message you want to tell others)

I want others to know that it is okay to talk about this issue…that they don’t have to hide any secrets or live in shame or fear. I want people to know that in the United States alone someone dies by suicide once every 16 minutes…and worldwide approximately 1 million people per year (statistics from http://afsp.org). I want people to know that we as humans are all at risk for losing someone in this manner and/or suffering from issues that may cause a person to have suicidal thoughts. It is important for people to know that there are resources, like 1800273TALK (crisis hotline) and AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) and other great organizations to support who are working hard and need our help. I want people to know that they are not alone and that we need to come together to work towards helping each other in losses, in overcoming obstacles, in dealing with health issues and educating each other about suicide and suicide prevention.

5) Anything else you would like to share?

I will be participating in the Kansas City Out of the Darkness Community Walk this Saturday October 17th. I am also a planned “speaker” at the event. The walk is being held at Berkely Riverfront Park in Kansas City, MO. I would love to have the support of anyone who feels led and to have fellow Kansas Citians join me at the walk. People can support me by visiting my fundraising page at http://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/AmyKiel or they can go to http://outofthedarkness.org for information about the walk in Kansas City as well as other walks going on around the country.Last summer I participated in something called The Overnight (http://theovernight.org), this was a national event held in Chicago, Illinois that benefitted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It was an overnight walk through the streets of Chicago…winding along the lakeside and through the city…hundreds of people walking together to raise awareness and who had raised funds for this important cause. The walk itself was just under 20 miles long. I was not able to complete the entire walk due to health issues…but, it was an amazing experience. I was able to raise $1300 and I was able to walk in the company of others who care deeply for this cause. I met people who had lost parents, best friends, children…all to suicide, as well as those who struggled personally like I do. I cannot express to you how the whole process of being a part of this event has impacted me. It was a time of great personal growth and challenge and also an amazing thing to be a part of such a group, all working towards the same goal.

I hope others can know how wonderful it can be to contribute to our world in this or a similar way. Every bit of help matters… prayers, encouragement, promotion, donations, participation…it’s all an important part of the big picture. Every one of us matters in this world and each one of us can make a difference.

I would welcome visitors to my blogs (http://unavitabella.com/blog/ and http://polkadotsarepretty.blogspot.com) and on twitter (http://twitter.com/Abeeliever) to learn more about me, my writing and creative efforts as well as my work to prevent suicide and advocate for mental health issues. I am a fellow traveler, on this journey called life, and I love to have company!

Our thanks once again to Amy for volunteering to be the first person to be featured on this blog.
Until next time…
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One response

23 10 2009
Richard

Fantastic! Way to be a model for passion Amy! I too have seen the darkness and am constantly battling for life, but it is a beautiful thing!

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