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Kenna's story

A last-minute phone call saved Kenna's life.

She was alone in a field near her North Carolina home, preparing to end it all. It was a fluke, really. She was just absentmindedly scrolling through her phone, thinking about the people who’d miss her, when she stumbled upon the Boys Town National Hotline® number. She made the call, and on the other end of the line, she found what she calls "an angel" who saved her life.

So how did Kenna even get to this point? What makes a bright, vivacious young woman—someone with her whole life in front of her—come to the decision to commit suicide?

In a word, shame.

At the urging of her then high school boyfriend, Kenna took an intimate photo meant only for him. Minutes later, he shared it with most of the student body—and the ensuing physical, emotional and online tormenting she received drove her to make the ultimate choice.

Today, Kenna travels around her state talking to high schools about the dangers of bullying, using her experience to help others.

Thanks to the Boys Town National Hotline®, Kenna’s story had a happy ending. Help write another one today.

Read Video Transcript

Kenna's Story

He ​was really cute and I was happy, and then the night of the homecoming game, he asked me for a picture, like a naked picture. And I told him that I didn't want to send it. I begged him, and he said that he loved me and he wouldn't show anybody, he would delete it. But next thing you know, I get to the game and everybody is clumped up in these little groups and they have their phones out, like I couldn't... everybody was just looking at me like waiting for me to say something, but there was nothing I could say, and I was so ashamed. From that moment on, that's when it really got intense.

But people were positing comments on my page, talking about how my body looked, and I was looking at myself and I just looked ugly in the mirror. And I said, "This is not how I want to live." I was smoking weed all the time, drinking alcohol, just anything to get rid of the feelings I had. One night I just said, "I just can't do it anymore", like nobody was listening to me at home. That night I went to... I just wanted to kill myself, and I'd snuck out of my house to do it. There’s a field behind my house, and I was in the field and I said, "Well, no one’s ever going to find me. It’s not like anyone’s going to miss me but I might want to tell somebody I’m here".

I started scrolling through my phone and I am like "You can't tell them, you can't tell them, you can’t tell them." So, I just saw the Boys Town number and I was just sitting there thinking about what I was doing and I was like, "I can't, like I can't end my life over this, we're not dogs, and they love me anyway." And I was like, "Who’s going to take care of my dog?” I don't want to be gone, but I still wanted to be gone because I didn't want to go back into school and deal with all the things that were happening.

So, I called them and this time I spoke to a lady, and she is literally like an angel, she was just there. And she told me that my life was worth so much more than what people said, and she told me that I could go back to school with my head held up on my shoulders. And she said, "You can still smile". She said, "Underneath all of this anger and hate you have, and sadness you have, you still have a smile." And she said, "And I bet it's beautiful.”She said, "I don't know who you are, but I bet it's beautiful. And I said, "Thank you," and she said that if I took my life away then I am giving them the satisfaction. And she said, "You don't need to do that.” She said, "You can stick it out,” and she said, "And you can make something of yourself."

And that was my turning point. She changed everything, absolutely everything. She saved my life. I mean, that's really when things started to look up was after that call. And also at the high school I went to, there were three suicides in a matter of two years… three, one of them being a very, very close friend of mine. And I said, "I cannot let this happen anymore,” and so that's when I contacted Boys Town and let them know that I wanted to try and make something out of my story so that it can help reduce that.

Today, I am going to the high school to share my story that I had to do. It's just me wanting to reach out because I know how I felt and I feel that the more people I can help… I mean change starts with one person, so the more people I can help and reach out to, the easier it's going to be. You cannot make a mistake like that and beat yourself up for it because the only thing it's done now is make me a smarter person and a stronger person. But one thing that you all have to really realize is somebody else out there is going through the same thing you are, and you have to really, really think about your decisions and your actions, because one of you in here who has spread those rumors, you could be the cause of somebody's death. Think about that. Thanks for letting me come today.

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