Testimonial: Karli's Story

Where do I begin... Brian Klanica introduced himself into my life at one of the hardest times. Not only for myself, but for my mother. My mom and I live on opposite ends of the country, so I don’t get to see her very often. In December 2018, I had a “hunch” that something was wrong. Not because she told me, but because you just know when your loved ones are struggling. It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized just how bad it was.


A brief history on my mother, she was a hospice nurse for nearly 30 years. Throughout that time, she lost every single one of her patients, with one exception. Can you imagine? You build relationships with not only the patients, but they’re families as well. Everyday, she would know that they would one day be gone and she would see them after or often times be there holding their hand until their last breath. Families instill so much love and trust into their hospice nurses, end of life care demands a heart and strength that very few have. With that being said, my mother spent more than half of her life staying strong for others and completely lost herself.


Depression runs in our family, I knew my mother struggled with depression on a daily basis. She was always able to function, get herself out of bed and try to treat it to the best of her ability. She never quit, ever.


This time was different. When I arrived, I had never seen someone who’s mind and body had been completely taken over by something many of us cannot understand. The house was dark, her nails weren’t painted, her bed wasn’t made, the list goes on. When you know my mother, you know that these things and many more were not normal. Her eyes- I felt like I was looking into someone else’s eyes. I could see and feel the pain emanating from her body. She would often say simple things would, “make her want to kill herself”, in what she thought was a joking way, but I knew it wasn’t.


Since I was born, my mother NEVER stopped working. All hours of the day and night, she would answer the calls. But this time in particular, I asked her when she needed to work, she said that she didn’t. That made my heart stop, as she started to cry. She had lost her job, her only source of income. Her depression took over, making it impossible to get of bed, she had fallen so far behind they had no choice. My mother never was known to ask for help, and she never did. She had no energy. She would sleep until the afternoon hours.


My once positive, hardworking, smiling, mother full of laughter was completely taken over by a mental health illness, depression.


I started a GoFundMe page, Love for Dana. This was something my mother did not want me to do, something I too felt went against our character. Asking for money? She never raised me to do that. She raised me to work, work and work some more and that we are responsible for ourselves. This time, it was out of my hands. I only make a Police Officer’s salary from across the country. Her lease was coming to an end, she no longer had health insurance, she still had unpaid bills. She was suffering for far longer than I even know now, and never asked for help. It was time she asked for help. Still, I tried not to share on social media, I knew that was not what my mom would have wanted. Attention was never her goal for good or bad.


With that being said, I was sitting in my backyard on a beautiful sunny evening when I received a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. I normally ignore these calls, but something told me to answer it. I did, and God had sent me an angel who was on the other line.


On the other line, Brian Klanica introduced himself and said he came across my GoFundMe page for my mother. He explained that depression hits close to home for him and his family as depression took his wife, Connie Klanica far too soon. He started The Connie J Klanica Foundation to help those struggling with depression and he wanted to help. Tears filled my eyes almost immediately upon answering the phone. His story, hearing his struggles and hearing his empathetic words was unlike any other. With the CJKF, he wanted to assist in relieving some of my mother’s financial burden. Without this phone call, without Brian and his amazing team, I honestly do not know what we would have done.


As a Police Officer, my first instinct would be to question “who” this person might be and how they’re scamming me. But this wasn’t a scam, this was a complete blessing and God was working hard to bring us together. Shortly thereafter, I went to Brian’s office and met him and Connie’s amazing family. The love, empathy and support they showed me is indescribable.


 I broke down into tears and still, cannot believe the impact this foundation has had on me and my family, in addition to all others they have helped struggling with Depression.  


Although I am writing this nearly two years later, the struggles continue. It has been hard for me to put “pen to paper” when I still don’t know my mothers outcome. I was expecting to have a success story, but each day is a new day. This organization jump started the positive progression for my mother and that is what I would like to share with others. Physical illness has introduced itself throughout the year of 2020. Right when things were beginning to look up, this year hit. It is not just my mother, as a police officer I see depression take people when it is not even close to their time. This year especially, there are many struggling and I pray for them. I send strength to all those who feel weak and love to all of those who feel alone.


In order to understand this mental illness, someone really needs to have struggled from it or be VERY close to someone who has hit rock bottom. There are way too many people out there that have a hard time understanding how it impacts someone on a mental and physical level. This family does, and are determined to make their heartbreaking loss and help others so they won’t have to endure the struggle and pain. I pray for Brian, his children and all of their family often.

- Karli