Note From The Founder
A LETTER FROM AMBER’s MOM:
We are grateful to have you here visiting our website and learning more about our mission, which is also our passion: supporting all God’s children who suffer with mental health. To eliminate the stigma of mental illness. To make suicide awareness & prevention a goal of every person.
The birth of Ambers Last Promise grew out of a wish from my daughter, Amber Ripple, whom I lost to suicide in the spring 2013. Amber was a very intelligent young woman, who had undiagnosed mental health challenges as a young child. Lack of awareness, education, and treatment unraveled to a life threatening point when she became an adult. She had received extensive treatment when she reached adolescence, which helped her cope with life, but because of stigma and the poor mental health system in Wisconsin, she was left with an undiagnosed mental illness. Additionally because she had turned 18, I no longer was able to assist her due to HIPAA Laws. My story is one that is all too common. As Patrick Kennedy, always says: “when it comes to mental health, why do we wait until its ‘sick care’ instead of ‘health care’?”
When Amber & I were at odds with the doctors and the mental health professionals to save her life, we came to realize the dire state of our education and the mental health care system. Amber and I fought with the mental health system for 10 years, up to the day of her death. She and I often talked about the problems with the doctors. How they just wanted to give her medications OR change her medications OR take away her medications. They didn’t want to know about Amber. What Amber wanted was help from someone to help her cope. To do the brain scans she so desperately needed. To have her medical records corrected. She wanted to have a safe haven to go to where there were others who suffered the same as she did without stigma. I lost her 5 days before that brain scan was to become a reality because of the decision and action of her doctor. Unfortunately, because of this decision Amber became a statistic of the “Silent Epidemic” of suicide.
From all appearances — Amber wanted to live. Even her letter written to those left behind states she wanted to live. Unfortunately, the demons of depression over took her and she didn’t reach out to anyone when her doctor made that awful decision. She was taken off her medication without a safety net. Cold Turkey. You’re on your own.
When I launched Ambers Last Promise I didn’t have much of a plan – but I was called into action to keep Amber’s wish alive for others. With God’s blessing and the help of many friends, Ambers Last Promise was born. With each passing year, our impact has grown, and we now raise funds for several wonderful organizations here in Wisconsin.
Why the Blackbird, Sun & Rose?
In 2013, we had found a copy of the song that Amber wanted us to play at her funeral. Blackbird by Alterbridge is how she felt her life was like and knew that she will see us again someday. The Sun is God’s promise of a bright tomorrow for all that suffer from mental health. The Rose comes from a cross plaque that Amber always had hanging above the doorframe. The verse on that plaque says: “Like a dewdrop on a rose, you have shed a tear. You will miss them; you will remember and love them – Always.”
We will never hug our daughter again in this earthly life. But we can and will work alongside you…perhaps to save your friend, your neighbor’s child, a relative or even your own son or daughter.
Although we began with a focus, we’ve since expanded our mission to include advocating for individuals of all ages. We consider this cause to be so critical that we classify it a public health emergency. Our drive to diminish the stigma associated with mental health and make sure everyone understands that this is a disease. It is a mission fueled by unyielding hope and the belief in the resilience and inherent goodness in every human being and know that every single human being deserves respect, support, and love.
Thank you for your support ~ in any form,
Jodie Knudson Baacke