Have you ever been touched by abuse? The last nine years of hosting our annual child abuse prevention event, Live For 175, has definitely opened my eyes. I just see and feel things I never did. This is one of those moments from last year. Meet Anna Shakes.

We begin Live For 175 on Saturday, April 22 and end on the following Saturday, April 29. This is my favorite event of the year and the one that teaches me about life. I look at listeners in a different light now and try not to pass judgment. I'm not even close to perfect, but I think it's great that I can still find ways to become a better person. I wish I could say it like Tim McGraw sings it in one of his most personal songs, Humble and Kind. Why can't we just all be exactly that, humble and kind.

 

I was just talking to someone that's been on this Kiss Squad from almost the beginning, Michelle Heart. She has been by my side since 2010 and it wasn't really until this year that an emotional connection happened. That is how awareness begins. There are not too many people that just stand up and say, "let's fix abuse!" That's not how it works. People tend to fight for the things they believe in and that usually stems from personal experience. Live for 175 happened because a little girl was tortured to death by her parents. THAT sparked me to stand up without pause and say, "No More!" There was a small group of us that refused to stand by without doing something.

Each year we take on a new journey with new reasons to keep stretching out this campaign to reach more victims. I met a great woman at Live For 175 who walked up to me, shook my hand, and said, "you just touched abuse."

Her friends call her "Anna Shakes."

I call her a HERO. This is her story.