Kelly Chooses Empowerment Over Pain
Kelly Frank Kemnitz is no stranger when it comes to the devastating effects of mental illness. She lost both parents to alcoholism before her 24th birthday and her husband to depression four years ago. But, she doesn’t want your pity. Instead, Kelly chooses to turn her pain into empowerment, working alongside Rogers Foundation to break the stigma of mental illness and raise funds to help people put their lives and families back together again.
“When my husband lost his battle with alcoholism and depression, my kids and I dealt with a lot of whispering and pointing. We talked about how their dad had a disease that overtook him. They have nothing to be ashamed of.”
So, when a friend invited Kelly to attend the Foundation’s Women’s Gathering event, she gladly accepted. That year, Trenni Kusnierek spoke about her battle with depression, a message that resonated within her. “I wasn’t prepared for the impact of that presentation. It solidified to me how much Rogers is needed. I knew I wanted to help.”
After the event, she and a member of the Foundation talked about her interests and suggested ways to get involved. Leave it up to Kelly’s compassionate heart to check off several items on our list:
- Coordinate a “Give for a Better Day” donation drive at your place of employment.
For one month, Kelly invited her co-workers at MSI General Corporation to donate an item on the Foundation’s “wish list.” In exchange for the donation, they were granted the opportunity to wear jeans each Friday of that month.
- Organize your own “My Rogers” community fundraiser with proceeds benefiting patients at Rogers.
Kelly has a friend who is a Pampered Chef sales representative. Her friend agreed to hold a party in which a portion of the sales from that event was donated to Rogers Foundation.
- Volunteer your talents on one of our fundraising event committees.
For the past two years, Kelly has shared her time and talents in making the Women’s Gathering awareness and fundraising event a huge success.
- Be a Rogers Champion.
Kelly isn’t afraid to speak up and get involved on behalf of mental health and wellness, and she hopes that it will inspire others to do the same.
“I’m such a sap! I’m always the first one with tears in my eyes listening to someone share their story. Reaching out and helping someone who is suffering is priceless to me.”
The holidays can be a difficult time for patients at Rogers. Learn how you can give the gift of joy this holiday season by organizing your own community fundraising event or donation (toy/clothing) drive. Learn more >>
After 30 days at Rogers, my insurance coverage ended. But during my stay, I never knew if my insurance would even give me that long. My third day at Rogers, my insurance company almost bailed. I didn’t know if I would be there the next day.
OCD is commonly referred to as the doubter’s disease. And, the uncertainty and doubt with whether you would be able to get the treatment you need, did not help my OCD. I was lucky to be a recipient of a 10-day patient care grant from the Foundation.
This definitive end date for my treatment allowed me the ability to focus on what I needed to do to make the transition from residential treatment easier.
Even after 40 days of inpatient treatment, I wasn’t healthy enough to move back to Mississippi. I applied for another grant, which allowed me to attend hour-and-a-half therapy sessions three times a week for an additional four weeks. By the time I left I had gone an entire day without washing my hands (except during showers). Gross, I know, but as silly it is to say, this was one of the greatest achievements of my life.
Without the grants, I would never be where I am today: back at school, doing my own laundry, taking out the trash, and putting myself in a position to start a career with the hopes of a family to follow. For the first time in almost a decade, I can see fatherhood, the white picket fence and golden retriever, summer vacations and Christmas with the in-laws.
It is those like yourself that have allowed me to have a future worth calling a future. It takes a special person to make a gift to the patient care grant program. When I received the grants, l felt like the donors were holding me accountable for my recovery, and they still do today. Your generosity will give someone like me the foundation for a life that they had all but given up on. And, there are never enough words to thank you. But please know, with all of my heart, thank you.
I have published three collections of poetry, and my debut novel, The Future for Curious People, was just published last September. For the most part, words have always come relatively easy. But right now, as I write this letter to you, I find myself at a loss—this is the most difficult thing I’ve yet to write. It’s also the most important. The words I’ve written in the past have been fictional acounts about joy, pain, and love. They were written for the sole purpose to entertain. But these words here are about life. There is nothing fictitious about living with OCD.
Program for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Eases Pain
An Interview with Chad Wetterneck, PhD
What is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
PTSD is one of the most prevalent of all anxiety disorders, effecting nearly 10% of women and 5% of men at some point in their lives.
To be diagnosed with PTSD, you first need to experience a life-threatening event, either real or perceived, and then react to the event with fear or horror. The event may be caused by any physical or sexual assault, a car or other accident, a natural disaster or even witnessing a life-threatening event, to name a few.
How do you know if you have PTSD?
Some people can experience a trauma and not develop PTSD. For others, though, it may lead to changes in mood and behavior. It can cause nightmares, self-blame, disruption in thought, avoidance of certain situations and separation between self and others. People may begin to develop a view of the world as being a dangerous place.
How is PTSD treated?
At the core of treatment is exposure. It can be really hard, because the last thing someone wants to do is recall the event over and over again, but that’s exactly what needs to be done.
There is evidence to support the effectiveness of certain methods of treatment for PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of those methods, and it’s what we subscribe to in this program.
What makes the PTSD program at Rogers unique?
Rogers is unique because there is no other program like it out there. Patients participate in therapy for six hours a day, five days a week. Each patient receives an assessment upon admission, every week during treatment, and then at the end of the program.
This is the first program of its kind with research to back up its outcomes in this manner. Not only will it help us evaluate the success of our program, but it will also allow other facilities to learn from us so that more people with PTSD will receive quality care. We also incorporate other approaches, such as yoga and mindfulness, in addition to a strong cognitive behavioral core.
How is the program going so far?
So far, the program is going well. We are just beginning to get results of the outcome studies from our first patients, and while they are encouraging, we have to look at more clinical data to decide how to continue to refine it for our patients’ health.
Celebrate the Light Gala
Friday, November 7, 2014
The Pritzlaff Building, Milwaukee
The Gala is too close to this newsletter’s print time to give a report. Watch for more information about this event in the next newsletter.
Rogers Golf Classic
Monday, July 13, 2015
The Legend at Brandybrook, Wales
It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Rogers Golf Classic, and we’ve got some ultra cool activities in the works! Next year’s event promises to be the best yet. Watch for more information coming soon!
11th Annual Women’s Gathering
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The Wisconsin Club, Milwaukee