Update (September 2013): I wrote this article below about Kelli Stapleton in March of 2013. At that time Kelli was doing everything within her power to get help for her daughter. She was reaching out to every blogger friend and news media that would share her story. I’m devastated to now know that on September 3rd Kelli felt like her only option left was to murder her daughter and kill herself. She’s now in jail for attempted murder and her daughter is in the hospital.
I’ve been asked by some people to take my article down because I call Kelli “mother of the year” but I won’t. I believe positive stories about Kelli need to be out there. The actions Kelli took on September 3rd will come to define her life, but there’s so much more to this story.
I find it so tragic that these events finally brought forth the media attention that Kelli was so desperately seeking. I can only hope her story brings even more awareness to the lack of mental health resources in our country. My heart aches for the entire Stapleton family.
Being a mother isn’t easy. One minute it feels like I’ve failed this gig called motherhood and then the next I feel like Mother of the Year. Sometimes I have to put myself in time out because I’m about to lose it. Other times my son says “I wove you” or gives me an unsolicited kiss and I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Overall motherhood is the greatest adventure of my life and I have it pretty easy compared to some. I know I should count my blessings because I happen to know the real Mother of the Year: Kelli Stapleton.
Kelli was one of the first people to interview me and share my story on her incredible show Birth Stories on Demand. We’ve even connected to help grow one of the largest collections of Plus Size Birth Stories. Kelli spends so much of her time helping other moms-to-be and mothers. She has such positive energy that you’d never imagine her personal struggle. The struggle to support one of her children who has a form of autism that causes her to be physically and emotionally abusive.
I remember, during my interview with Kelli, she had to stop the call in the beginning and made a loving comment about having an autistic daughter. She, like all mothers, helped her child out and then rejoined our call. Following the interview we connected as Facebook friends and I enjoyed seeing many hilarious status updates. Kelli’s bubbly personality sure comes out strong on Facebook and her show. After two years of giggles I started to see a lot of heartache. Her sweet daughter, Issy, really needed some help. Kelli had been hospitalized on more than one occasion with head injuries her daughter had inflicted upon her. I can’t imaging loving your child so much and yet fearing their next outburst. Fearing being hit and doing everything within your power to protect your other children. Heartbreaking!
Then there was hope. Kelli and her family found a wonderful facility that would help Issy with her behavioral issues. She was admitted and started to finally receive the medical care she so desperately needs. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive, $765 a day, and insurance won’t cover it. Kelli started writing her story within her blog, The Status Woe, and reaching out to local media outlets. Donations started to come in. Money that helped Issy’s stay go from days to weeks. Though it’s still not enough and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m sharing Issy’s story.
YOU can make a difference and there are many different ways to help!
1. “Like” Team Issy on Facebook
2. Share Kelli’s blog article - The Status Woe
3. Send Issy some mail to brighten her mood (more info below)
Care of the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research
9616 Portage Rd.
Portage, Michigan 49002
4. Make a financial donation to help keep Issy in treatment.
As mothers we need to come together and support one another! Kelli has done so much for others that it’s time we do something for her.
Message from Kelli on how you can send Issy some cheer: Several of you have asked, so if you would like to write to Issy Stapleton, she would love to get mail. Please write about the instruments you play, the names of your family members (seriously, she’ll remember all of them), the names of your pets, include pictures (it doesn’t matter if she knows you or not). That would make her day! If you want to send her something, she likes coloring books, nail polish, Her favorite color is pink and she wears an adult size large. She loves VHS dora or sesame street videos (check your basement or Good Will. She has all of them on DVD but… well, it’s an autism thing!)—> Issy Stapleton Care of the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research 9616 Portage Rd. Portage, Michigan 49002