RIVER EDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Herb and Andrea Ouida lost their 25-year-old son Todd on 9/11, and have turned that loss into something positive, WCBS 880′s Sean Adams reported.
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“There are many ways people deal with the tragedy of September 11th. To be perfectly honest, for my family, doing good in Todd’s name is our healing,” Herb told Adams.
Todd was thriving at Cantor Fitzgerald when he was killed, but that wasn’t always the case.
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“My son Todd suffered as a child from an anxiety disorder which kept him out of school from the fourth to sixth grades and we worked with first medication and subsequently a therapist and Todd completely recovered,” Herb said. “It took us some time, but he was able to continue his education, first at homeschooling and then he graduated with his class. He went on to the University of Michigan.”
From their home in River Edge, the Ouidas run the Todd Ouida Children’s Foundation and they have raised over $1 million for children’s mental health programs.
“We want to take the stigma out of depression and anxiety disorder. We want to use Todd’s life and his story to help others,” Herb said. “In effect, to transform our tragedy into hope for others, and there is hope. There is much that can be done. Todd completely recovered.”
The Ouidas are expanding the foundation to take it in a new direction – education.
“We normally held a fundraiser every year. Now, this will be the first conference of the Todd Ouida Children’s Foundation and it’s totally dedicated to having speakers talk about issues involving children’s mental health,” Herb said.
That conference will take place at Montclair State University on Wednesday, May 16, 2012.
The Ouidas hope that the conference will become an annual event.
“If we can help other people in Todd’s name and spirit, it’s part of our healing,” Herb said.
Did you lose someone on 9/11? How have you dealt with the loss? Share your story in the comments section below.