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12-Year-Old Girl Dies by Suicide After Being Relentlessly Bullied and Harassed at School

After facing relentless bullying and harassment over the past school year, 12-year-old Flora Martinez ended her life on May 7. Now, her parents are demanding change from schools and administrators after the bullying persisted, even once she was gone.

One Year After 26-Year-Old Wife Dies of Cancer, Husband Finds Redeeming Love After Loss With Young Widow

After his wife Maddy died of cancer at just 26 years old, Chandler David Smith was left grieving an unimaginable loss and navigating what it looked like to be a single dad. In his grief, he found new and beautiful love with a young widow and mother of three.

Florida ‘Safe Haven’ Baby Graduates High School, Reunites With Firefighters Who Received Her 18 Years Ago

Eighteen years ago, when she was just one day old, a baby named Colleen was surrendered at a “Safe Haven” box in Clermont, Florida. Now, as she successfully graduates high school, Colleen is reuniting with the firefighters who were with her on that fateful day 18 years ago.

How One Mother’s Tragedy Inspired Wyatt’s Law to Combat Child Abuse

The Tragic Beginning: Shaken Baby Syndrome

I guess you could say my real life story begins when I was 16 years old. My mom (who was my best friend) died suddenly of brain cancer. It rocked my whole world and it was hard for me to imagine feeling happy again. Well when I was 18, I met a man whom I was sure was the man of my dreams. I never imagined he would ever be my ex-husband. We dated for a few years, he proposed, I said yes and we were married when I was 22. I was so excited to have found my supposed love of my life so early in life. One thing I also knew from a very young age, is I always wanted to be a mother. My life plan was we would have [three] kids by the time I was 30. I imagined the white picket fence and all. So my husband and I started trying for a baby and were blessed with my son Wyatt who was born perfect on October 12, 2012. My life was playing out just as I imagined it, and shortly after Wyatt was born we were already talking about having baby #2.

Courtesy of Erica Hammel
Courtesy of Erica Hammel
Courtesy of Erica Hammel

When Wyatt was just 4 months old, my husband at the time just stopped coming home at night. Out of nowhere. When I questioned him about it, all he would say is, ‘I’m trying to find myself,’ ‘Not sure if I was ready to be a Dad.’ I decided to try and be as supportive as I could and just hoped and prayed he would come back home. I had never felt that alone since my mom had died. This isn’t the way life was supposed to work. How was I all of [a] sudden a single mom? I was raised to be married before I had a child with someone. I did everything the way I was raised to be, and I just didn’t understand why this was happening. But I couldn’t wallow and soak in my self-pity; I had an infant to take care of. And that was my focus. I became suspicious that my husband wasn’t ‘finding himself,’ but instead, he was having an affair. He denied it and made me feel like absolute garbage for even suggesting it. But I had someone I knew see him out with another woman and snapped some pretty intimate photos of them. As soon as I brought ‘the evidence’ to him, he finally admitted to it. I knew in that moment my marriage was over. I filed for divorce in May of 2013.

Erica Hammel
Erica Hammel
My name is Erica Hammel, I am 30 years old, and live in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. I work part-time for a dental Handpiece company, and my other job is taking care of my son Wyatt who is a survivor of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Wyatt is currently in outpatient 3 times a week, so we stay pretty busy. After what happened to Wyatt, I knew I needed to make a change. No doubt my calling in life has become to protect children and to fight for the rights they don’t have. I am trying to do that through Wyatt’s Law and will continue to do that after the law passes.

12-Year-Old Girl Dies by Suicide After Being Relentlessly Bullied and Harassed at School

After facing relentless bullying and harassment over the past school year, 12-year-old Flora Martinez ended her life on May 7. Now, her parents are demanding change from schools and administrators after the bullying persisted, even once she was gone.

One Year After 26-Year-Old Wife Dies of Cancer, Husband Finds Redeeming Love After Loss With Young Widow

After his wife Maddy died of cancer at just 26 years old, Chandler David Smith was left grieving an unimaginable loss and navigating what it looked like to be a single dad. In his grief, he found new and beautiful love with a young widow and mother of three.

Florida ‘Safe Haven’ Baby Graduates High School, Reunites With Firefighters Who Received Her 18 Years Ago

Eighteen years ago, when she was just one day old, a baby named Colleen was surrendered at a “Safe Haven” box in Clermont, Florida. Now, as she successfully graduates high school, Colleen is reuniting with the firefighters who were with her on that fateful day 18 years ago.