The Ohio kidnapping victims rescued after close to a decade have reached out to thank their supporters.
In a letter penned by the lawyers for Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, the survivors are said to be "happy and safe" and continuing to heal.
The attorneys - Kathy Joseph, Heather Kimmel, Henry Hilow, and James Wooley - are representing the women on a pro-bono basis.
The full text of the letter is below. People wishing to donate to the survivors can do so by visiting ClevelandFoundation.org or by mailing a check to the Cleveland Courage Fund, c/o Cleveland Foundation, 1422 Euclid Ave., Suite 1300, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.
Donations can also be made at KeyBank branches in Northeast Ohio or mailed to the bank's headquarters at Cleveland Courage Fund, c/o KeyBank, 127 Public Square, Cleveland, Ohio, 44114.
"We are the attorneys who have come together to help Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. These three brave women have asked us to give this message to everyone who has expressed concern and support.
Amanda, Gina and Michelle want you to know they are doing well. They are happy and safe and continue to heal, a process that requires time and privacy.
Since we first spoke publicly on their behalf, it has been wonderful to see that their plea for privacy has been answered and respected. The media has disappeared from their front lawns and their neighborhoods are no longer experiencing traffic jams from news vehicles and curious onlookers. You have no idea how much this means to them and has helped in their recovery process.
Their first public message included a simple, heartfelt thanks to well-wishers and supporters for “everything you are doing.” That “everything” now includes perhaps the greatest gift of all – the space and time to reconnect with their families and recover and rebuild their lives. And so they say again, “Thank you. Thank you so much!”
We continue to receive numerous generous offers to support Amanda, Gina and Michelle and their families. The outpouring of public support has been nothing short of remarkable.
To have complete strangers offer loving support in the form of money, goods and services, reaching out to help like a family member, is appreciated in ways that are impossible to put into words. Amanda, Gina and Michelle, who have asked for nothing, are frankly overwhelmed by it all.
You have touched their hearts in ways they will never forget. So again, they collectively say “Thank you. Thank you so much!”
We understand some people may be confused about the best way to help. We are in direct, private and ongoing conversations with Amanda, Gina and Michelle about many matters, including your generosity.
While they appreciate the generous offers of goods and services, for now, they are trying to assess what they need today and for years to come. That’s why donations to the Cleveland Courage Funds are so welcome."
We are confident the Cleveland Courage Funds are the legitimate, appropriate and most effective vehicles for this effort. In fact, donations to the Cleveland Courage Funds are already being distributed to the four survivors consistent with the concepts behind the trusts that are being set up. And as soon as the trusts are in place, one-hundred percent of all donations to the Cleveland Courage Funds will go into those trusts.
Cleveland is known for its generosity. Amanda, Gina, Michelle and Amanda’s daughter are indeed grateful for that generosity, as are we.