Cleveland Kidnapping Survivors Spread Hope

As many of you know, hope is such a fragile thing.  Even the most optimistic person who lives with pain, sickness, and fatigue every day has moments (or seasons) of despair.  This week I found tremendous encouragement from hearing Michelle Knight’s testimony in court; Michelle is one of the three women who has held captive by Ariel Castro in Cleveland for a decade–or in her case, eleven years.   Her connection to us may seem elusive but I think she is a great example of resilience.

The Dark Part of the Mind That is Inaccessible 

Recently I was discussing my illness with one of my doctors who asked if my family understands what I’m going through.  I said yes–they try their best and do things to help me–but ultimately there’s a part of my mind they can’t reach or fully understand.  The part that is sometimes lonely, often confused, and at other times happy and resolute and sure God uses my pain to help others.  I imagine that the three women who survived being tortured by Ariel Castro–Amanda Berry, Gina de Jesus, and Michelle Knight–will have many people to lean on.  They city of Cleveland has rightfully treated them like heroes.  And they will have family and friends to help them.  But all this support cannot take the years of suffering back.  And a part of their experience will always be hard to completely comprehend for outsiders.  I think that it’s like this for chronically people as well–our healthy friends and family can help but they can’t fully comprehend the pain we endure.

Michelle Knight’s Powerful Testimony of Hope

Survivor, Michelle Knight
Survivor, Michelle Knight

Despite all they endured,  all three women have released statements thanking everyone for their support, well wishes, and prayers!  Yesterday I was buoyed by Michelle Knight’s testimony in court:

If she could endure all that (being separated from her son for 11 years, being tortured and beaten) and still have faith in God and the kindness of humanity, I think we can too.

–Your Stylist,

Jessica Gimeno


Hi there! I am a patient advocate, writer, and public speaker most well known for my TEDx Talk, “How to Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed.” As someone who is juggling 5 illnesses: bipolar 2, myasthenia gravis, endometriosis, psoriasis, and asthma, I’m passionate about helping people who navigate life with both chronic physical & emotional pain. If you’re interested in hiring me to speak at your event, check out the CONTACT tab.

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