Most of you remember a little girl in Westminster, Colorado who was abducted and murdered last October, named Jessica Ridgeway. I am one of her great-aunts, and wrote a Grieving Room diary (linky here) on the week of what would have been her 11th birthday. Instead, we buried her. Our hearts are broken and may never be mended, and I am even more heartbroken for the Newtown families and now, the Boston families, who have lost their loved ones to violence. I know how they feel.
I'm writing this diary, though, to ask for your help, and I can't tell you how hard it is to swallow my pride and say, I need some financial help. I live 170 miles away from my family in Westminster, and although I have been using my credit cards to travel back and forth for meetings with the District Attorney and the various hearings, I've realized I'm sinking further and further down into a big money hole. I'll give you more details below the fold, if you are interested in my story.
Because the police fortunately caught Jessica's killer, and have charged him with the crime, he now is going to stand trial. I have been at most of the hearings in Denver, and although I worried that I may have to quit my job to attend the trial (set for September), I have been assured by my employer that I won't have to worry about it. The big problem is that our office is a small business with only me and one other part-time employee. My boss, the owner, can't afford to pay me for the three weeks I'll be at the trial.
I've also taken a lot of time off to attend the preliminary hearing and support my family. Jessica's mom is my niece, the daughter of my sister. We're moving forward with lots of different things, and a lot of money was sent to Jessica's mom and grandmother, but they have closed that account and sent the rest of the money to a foundation which we've set up.
Mind you, I don't hold that against them for wanting to fund the foundation. I would too. However, I'm kind of in a bind because although I thought I could handle the financial aspect of gas, hotel rooms, and other expenses associated with traveling back and forth, I'm realizing that these expenses coupled with the amount of money I've lost when taking time off without pay to travel back and forth is becoming a serious burden on my husband and I.
So I'm asking, very humbly, if some of you, any of you, would want to help me out during this difficult time. I am not the kind of person who can do this easily. What I can do easily is try to help others whenever I can, so if someone else needs help I'll do whatever I can in my power to help them.
I've set up a funding link at Gofundme.com, under www.gofundme.com/JessicaRidgeway. I'd appreciate any help you can give me, and if you aren't able to, I really do understand. In the interest of full disclosure, I have had some help from the Westminster Victim's Advocates with grocery cards, and also some money from the Victim's Assistance fund at the beginning of our ordeal. My mom has sent me $100. So I've recouped some of the money I've already spent. I don't always need a hotel room, only when my husband and dog come with me, because I can stay at one of my sister's houses if I'm by myself. I am mostly worried about the bills and the mortgage if I lose 3 weeks worth of pay, which is the biggest issue facing me. I just hate asking people for financial help but sometimes, we can't do it alone. This is one of those times, for me.
8:02 PM PT: I've been asked to add a few pictures to this diary - here are some of my favorites from her 10 years of life in this world....