Mary and Anna Kerr
"We had no clue as to what services are available to children with mental health issues. Washburn gave us our lives back."
Photo by Becca Sabot
In the fall of 2012, 8-year-old Anna Kerr was hospitalized four times in four months. “I missed every holiday,” she says. “They even made me do homework without my meds.”
Exposed to drugs in utero, Anna’s behavior and impulsivity issues had spiraled to the point that she and her family—adoptive parents Mary and Jerry and big sisters Natalie, Krissy, and Amanda—were in constant upheaval. Through Washburn, the family received a case manager, Jennifer, and a crisis therapist, Jess. “She’s the one that got me the big Gatorade,” Anna remembers fondly. Says Mary, “She came to help us too,” by teaching calming skills for everyone and coping skills for Anna when she becomes angry or upset.
Today, with what they’ve learned, the family rocks life. Mary celebrated 10 years free of breast cancer in April; Anna choreographed and performed a breakdancing routine in her honor. Anna is in school and is excited to sign autographs for friends when this story gets out. And they’ve taken vacations together as a family. “We had no clue as to what services are available . . . Washburn gave us our lives back,” Mary says.
They’re still working on it. Life is life. But this family has the strength and skills to cope. “We will always have to work on it,” Anna says. She knows. They are ready.
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Why do the Zimmerns speak for Washburn? Because their own family received incalculable benefit.