How Cheslie Kryst’s Mom Is Honoring Her Legacy (Exclusive)
It’s nearly unthinkable that it has been one year since the world lost our beloved friend and colleague Cheslie Kryst.
“Extra” spoke with her mother April Simpkins to reflect on Cheslie’s life and what she’s doing to honor her memory and raise mental health awareness.
April shared, “Cheslie was such a broad, fast force. Cheslie was an absolute force… She had an MBA, a law degree, the Miss USA title, and her dream job as a reporter for “Extra.”
Now, a year after Cheslie’s tragically took her own life, April says their family is still working through their grief.
She commented, “We’re taking it one moment at a time. One event at a time. Her absence is felt because her energy was unmatched.”
Simpkins is deeply feeling that absence, but honoring her daughter by working on the causes that meant the most to her.
April emphasized, “From women’s empowerment to advocacy and mentorship and diversity, equality, and inclusion. All the things that mattered to her, that is where I want her legacy to continue.”
Part of Cheslie’s legacy was always helping others, despite her own struggles. April is continuing to raise mental health awareness through the family foundation and their partnership with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“So many people could relate to Cheslie’s challenge of high functioning depression,” April stressed. “For NAMI to partner with us, the Cheslie C. Kryst Memorial Fund on Mental Health and really focus a little more, the challenges that Cheslie dealt with as someone with high-functioning depression means everything.”
This anniversary of Cheslie’s passing, April has a message to tWitch’s mom after she lost her son to suicide in December.
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April noted, “Relish all of those moments you had with him. Replay them over and over in your head and your mind. He’s there, he will be with you, not in the physical way, but in your heart, you will carry him.”
Raising awareness about mental health is more than a mission, it’s a calling for April!
She said, “I want to do this, not only to honor my daughter, but to honor others who’ve been lost and those who are still struggling. I’m gonna keep doing this.”
April knows Cheslie would be proud of the work she has done. Getting emotional, April shared, “She always told me that I could hard things and she was my cheerleader. This is a hard thing and I could feel her telling me, ‘Keep going, you’re doing a good job.’ I’m gonna keep going because I believe her.”
Along with honoring Cheslie, April wants to remind everyone to check on their loved ones, especially the strong ones.
Simpkins said, “Give them a moment to open and talk through what’s going on with them. Listen without judge, without criticism, without bias.”
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