This testimonial was sent to us and the person has asked to remain anonymous. We want to share this story in its entirety, as it touched us to read it. Thank you to the person who sent it in.
Dear Theo Fleury:
On December 25th, 2003, I was in fifth grade and my father told me that he had tickets to the Blackhawks game against the Minnesota Wild for the next day. We would be in section 112 across the aisle from where Theo Fleury’s guests would sit. My cousins have been season ticket holders for the Blackhawks since the United Center opened and knew his guests that sat in those seats. After attending the game, little did I know that 13 years later, Fleury would be a significant part of my life. From 1998-2001, I was sexually abused and I kept it inside for 18 years. As mentioned before, I didn’t know how emotional I would get about having Fleury in my life until I moved to Chicago last year.
Over the years, I have kept my situation inside. I moved to Chicago in May of 2015, and during that time, I read ‘Playing with Fire’ and ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’. I connected with the book in so many ways but I could not figure out why. It was when the words “you’re not alone” were presented to me, that I finally came to accept that I had been abused. For 18 years, I rejected that it happened to me and I tried to forget about it in fear of being laughed at or made fun of or told that I was overreacting. After reading both books, I finally decided to tell my story to several people, and after doing this, I feel like a new person. The process has not been easy but I am finally finding that little kid that I used to be prior to the abuse in that I am living life without the abuse affecting my day-to-day activities. I have opened up about it and come to accept that it happened and now I want to be like Fleury and help those who have been through it as well.
Prior to December 25th, 2003, I was a fan of Fleury the hockey player. After reading his books and watching his documentary, I now look up to Fleury as more than a hockey player, he is my hero as both a hockey player and role model. He encouraged me to open up about what happened to me and gave me the courage to continue to do what I am doing. I have a wonderful career in coaching and am pursuing my dreams but I needed someone like Fleury to show me that I can make it, despite what happened to me.
Prior to September of 2015, no one knew about what happened to me and it kept building up and causing emotional damage to me. Now, I have let that out and I feel like a different and better person. This Sunday, I am returning to the United Center and sitting in section 112, the same section I was in during that game in 2003. This will be the first time I have been back to the UC for a Hawks game since Fleury played, and I have already become emotional over it because of what the book has done for me. Thank you Theo for giving people like me hope, and an avenue to open up. Today, I walked around the United Center and reflected and had tears in my eyes as I walked around and realized that I have come so far thanks to these books and the messages by Fleury.
Without your messages in my life, I would not be where I am. My life is going great and I have really matured thanks to the lessons taught in the book. Thank you again for being someone I can look up to and model myself after.