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Former child abductee Elizabeth Smart speaks at Longview event

Former child abductee Elizabeth Smart speaks at Longview event
Longview News-Journal

POSTED: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 11:00am

UPDATED: Friday, August 2, 2013 - 11:14am

Elizabeth Smart, who was snatched from her Utah bedroom more than a decade ago, said Thursday night she could have spent the rest of her life dwelling on the horrific events of the nine months she spent in captivity, but she chose to push through the adversity and move forward with her life.

“We all have our own problems. We have a choice to keep moving forward or we can allow our trials to suck us back,” Smart said. “A lot happened to me in those nine months — none of it was pleasant. I could dwell on it every single second for the rest of my life, but I don’t want to. Every day really is a gift. ... I want to live my life so that if I die tomorrow, I would feel I had lived my life to the fullest.”

Smart was the keynote speaker Thursday at Longview Regional Medical Center’s Healthy Woman Anniversary Celebration. For five years, the hospital’s Healthy Woman program has provided free health education events designed to help women maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit. More than 1,200 East Texans are members of the program.

Libby Bryson, marketing director for Longview Regional Medical Center, said Smart was chosen to address the crowd of 960 women and men Thursday night because she overcame a tragedy and represents a strong, healthy woman.

The news Thursday that Ariel Castro — who abducted three Ohio women and held them captive for more than a decade — was sentenced to life in prison made Smart’s visit to Longview even more relevant.

“I think they are incredible,” Smart said of the Ohio women. “They deserve every happiness.”

Read more from the Longview News-Journal.

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