About Me

On November 22, 1988, I married my college sweet heart and my best friend.

Gabriel and I met first semester of my freshman year in college and started dating second semester.   We both attended the University of Illinois and met at the home of an English professor who was well acquainted with both our respective families.

I was pursuing an accounting degree and Gabe was studying political science.  Gabe however, was far more enchanted with American Capitalism and quickly devoted his energies to pursuing the American Dream.  Three months after our marriage, we bought our first apartment building and started a family real estate business.

Gabe’s Place Apartments grew to become one of the largest suppliers of student housing on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois. Additionally our real estate portfolio expanded to down state Illinois and down town Chicago.

In 1993 our first son was born, Gabe II.  In 1996, Jason came along.  Eventually, I went back to work outside of our family business at a wealth management firm.  All the while I still played a role in the operations of our expanding real estate business.  I was excelling professionally; our family was growing and my husband and I were true partners in life.

In 2000, our third son Hunter was born.  During this pregnancy, Gabe suffered a break down and voluntarily admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital.  I knew virtually nothing about mental illness and had absolutely no idea about how my life would be affected by this disease.

By 2003, our 4th child, a daughter, Katherine blessed our lives.  Shortly after her birth Gabe was involuntarily hospitalized after a suicidal breakdown.

For the next 7 years we battled with severe depression and mental illness.  There were several involuntary hospitalizations and lots of drama.  “Managing Crazy” became my life.

February 27, 2010 was THAT DAY when my life changed forever.

I am thankful to be alive.  I refuse to let our family tragedy destroy our lives.  Instead I intentionally work at transcending through the hurt, grief and anger of our personal heartbreak.  I am thankful and I am blessed.

My purpose in life is now two fold – to be an advocate for mental health reform and to be an inspiration to others that have gone through the unthinkable.