Elizabeth Smart is taking a very painful and frightening episode from her past to inspire and empower others.
Smart’s kidnapping as a child is not holding the 26-year-old back. In fact, she is taking her stories of survival on the road in conjunction with the release of her book, Elizabeth Smart; My Story.
At a luncheon Thursday at the YWCA’s Empowering Women Luncheon in Rochester, New York, the survivor told the audience the support she has received since she was rescued from the hands of her captor in 2003 has blessed her life immensely.
“So many people searched for me, so many people prayed for me and followed by story and I am so grateful [for] that,” Smart said. “It’s made such a huge difference knowing there are so many people who cared for me and loved me and wanted my safe return, not only my safe return but they wanted to see me happy again and they wanted to see me move forward in my life so that’s been such a huge blessing.”
Elizabeth Smart, who survived abduction as teen, has message for @YWCA_Rochester luncheon http://t.co/zR7IhuXUwT #ROC pic.twitter.com/5KAjkRsi60
— TWC News Rochester (@TWCNewsROC) October 2, 2014
Smart was 14 when she was taken from her bed in 2002 in her family’s Salt Lake City home. After nine months of captivity, police returned Smart to her family.
Smart said in her book that it was her mother and father’s unconditional love for her that kept her going through an unbelievably frightening experience. “[My mother] would always love me and I would always be her daughter and there’s just nothing that could ever change that.”
RT @LaurenPetracca Elizabeth Smart giving an incredible and emotional speech at YWCA luncheon pic.twitter.com/ExGWJF8Jon
— Rochester D and C (@DandC) October 2, 2014
Smart reminded the YMCA luncheon attendees that there is never a reason to give up, no matter how impossibly difficult life circumstances can become.
“For as much evil and wickedness and bad things you see on the news all the time, there are that many good people out there and there are that many more people who want to make a difference and who want to see you happy and who want to help, so never give up,” Smart said.