April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. You might have heard of this or maybe you just see it in the fine print of a yearly calendar. Abuse is something that isn’t really talked about. It’s only whispered about after reading tragic articles or watching a heart breaking news story.
It was in 2007, when Keke Luv and Lucky Tha DJ were living in Spokane, a horrific story came across the news. Four year old (Summer Phelps) was tortured by her dad and step mother. If you can think of all the things your kids have done, imagine what they did at age four. This child was treated like an animal and just couldn’t survive anymore.
This struck the guys' most inner heart string along with the rest of the city. Since then, Kekeluv has made it his mission to help fight abuse and spread the word of awareness.
In 2008, he brought his passion to 103.3 KISS-FM in Boise and created Live for 175. Keke took his message to the radio and stayed up for 7 days to break a Guinness world record. It wasn’t just another radio stunt. This was the most non-traditional radio event ever done in Boise. KISS-FM didn’t raise any money or take credit in the record books. The only goal was to call attention to Child Abuse Prevention. It’s only mission was dialogue - to get people talking about something so secret. It worked!
Keke Luv and the KISS-FM staff created a national spotlight appearing live on Fox National News, major New York radio shows syndicated across the country, and were included in local news media daily.
In 2009, KISS-FM used Keke Luv as a voice from doorstep to doorstep. Keke and his staff hit the streets running 7 marathons in 7 days. He ran over 182 miles shaking hands and spreading the message, “It shouldn’t hurt to be a child.” Keke Luv was given full support from the community and was assisted by local police officials with escorts throughout the city. You couldn’t go one block without seeing a blue ribbon on a street sign, a car or a house. KISS-FM not only got the word out once again, but accomplished the 7 marathons on only 6 weeks of training. Less than 4 months later, the Treasure Valley took a blow in the fight against Child Abuse. 8-year-old Robert Manwill went missing.
It took the city by storm as family members pleaded in daily news conferences to find their little boy. Thousands of local volunteers joined neighbors and the police department on search teams to find Robert. It wasn’t until later in the week when the news hit. A boy’s body had been pulled from a canal in Southwestern Idaho that matched the age and description of an 8-year-old little boy. The city held their breath and awaited the news. The police chief took the podium with a tearful and tired eye to announce the tragic news, “Robert Manwill has been found and the search is over.” It was what we had all feared. This little boy didn’t just go missing, he was murdered. In 2010, Keke took the 7-day challenge to another level, adding an 8th day without sleep in honor of Robert Manwill and all kids abused during the year.
Hundreds of supporters followed along as the hours ticked by and the stories came to light from tons of Treasure Valley girls, boys, children and adults who have been affected by abuse. In support of the cause and in an additional effort to raise awareness, our community came together and organized a candlelight vigil on the evening of day 7. Hundreds of people poured out to light a candle and share their stories in hopes of bringing the subject of abuse out of the closet and into the light.
In 2011, Keke Luv took his message to new heights...literally. Keke broadcast live for 7 days, this time from the top of a billboard in downtown Boise at Front & 9th Streets. He also did something he had never done before...he fasted for 175 hours with just water in an attempt to bring the discussion of child abuse even more to the forefront of everyone's mind. You can do your part by wearing a blue ribbon, put up a sign in your window, stick a pinwheel in the yard, or just open your eyes and be aware. The decisions we make today, will affect the outcome…today. There might not be a tomorrow for these kids.