How do you begin to heal after trauma? That’s the question many students and faculty are asking after living through the Marshall County High School shooting.

One local woman says writing down her thoughts helped her move forward after the Heath High School shooting in December 1997. Now, she’s paying it forward.

Words, strung together on paper.

“I wish I could tell you that it will get better soon, but honestly, it might not,” said Christina Ellegood, reading from a letter.

Different colors, sizes, and designs.

“I wish this wasn’t happening. I wish I didn’t have to write this letter,” Ellegood read.

The letters she’s reading from and the notebooks she’s collecting are much more than what they appear to be.

“We didn’t realize how important that was and how much it would benefit us until years later,” Ellegood explained of how therapeutic it was to write down her thoughts after Heath.

She survived that shooting. Her sister, Nicole Hadley, was killed that day.

“Losing my sister obviously was the worst day of my life, and being at Heath. And surviving the shooting, without a doubt is the worst day of my life,” Ellegood said. “But I have tried to make it into something positive.”

Ellegood says talking with survivors of the Marshall County High School shooting and Heath helped her come up with a special idea.

“To collect notebooks for every student, teacher, and faculty member at Marshall County,” Ellegood said.

Inside each notebook is a letter from a survivor of a mass shooting.

“I’m a Columbine High School survivor,” Ellegood read from one letter.

It’s a purpose the community is getting behind.

“Every person I’ve talked to thinks it’s a great idea,” said Ellegood.

The goal is for survivors at Marshall County High School to write down what they went through and what they’re feeling.

“It made me realize that I didn’t have to relive that constantly, and if I ever needed to go back, I have it in writing,” Ellegood said, explaining what keeping a journal meant for her.

Ellegood also hopes that gesture shows the students, teachers, and staff at MCHS they’re not alone.

“Peace will come to you in time,” said Ellegood, reading from a letter. “I do believe in that, and I hope that you will too.”

The deadline to drop off notebooks is March 5. The following businesses are drop off locations:

Bryant Law Center
601 Washington Street
Paducah, KY 42003

People Plus
2625 Wayne Sullivan Drive
Paducah, KY 42003

Anne’s Bridal
7400 Old Hwy 60
West Paducah, KY 42086

Falconite Development Group
2690 Olivet Church Road
Paducah, KY 42001

CFSB
All locations, Paducah, Draffenville, Calvert City, Benton, Aurora, Hardin, Mayfield and Murray

The Murray Bank
All Locations, Murray and Hazel

Signet Federal Credit Union
All locations, Paducah, Mayfield, and Wickliffe