Mary Robinson’s father died from cancer when she was 14, and for years afterward she struggled with depression. It wasn’t until she was in her late 20s that she realized her issues stemmed from unprocessed grief. In 2011, she started Imagine, a nonprofit that has provided free, year-round help to more than 700 grieving families in New Jersey and taught thousands of people how to support those who are suffering from loss.
Read her story on CNN.com
Video: CNN Hero Mary Robinson
Video Extra: The elephant in the room
A note from Mary......
Losing a parent is one of the most difficult experiences a child can have. When Mary was 12 years old, her father was diagnosed with cancer. 18 months later, he died. For years afterward Mary struggled, and it wasn’t until she was in her 20s that she realized her challenges stemmed from unresolved grief. As a child who lost a parent, Mary felt alone, that no one could possibly understand what she was going through. The reality is that childhood bereavement is not all that uncommon. In the US today, nearly 5 million children have had a parent die, and children in grief are children at risk, but they don't have to be...
Mary wanted to ensure that children received the support they needed at the time of their loss, so they wouldn't be at risk for things like poor performance in school, behavioral and mental health issues, suicidality, substance abuse, or just a life not lived to it's fullest. So, in 2011, Mary started Imagine. Imagine is a children’s grief support center that provides free, year-round grief support to children, teens, young adults and parents. Mary’s vision is one where children could grow up resilient and lead happy and productive lives, despite their loss, and she has committed her life to making that vision a reality.