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Free therapy available after shooting at Chiefs rally, witness encourages others to seek help

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Posted at 7:49 PM, Feb 16, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Laura Cooper thought she had the perfect spot near the stage for Wednesday's Chiefs Super Bowl rally.

Turns out that spot put her life in in jeopardy.

“I was only, I don’t know, maybe five feet away, and I heard pop, pop pop,” Cooper said.

Even though Cooper is back home in Marshall, Mo., the memory of those awful moments are still with her.

“I keep hearing the sound of gunshots in my ear,” Cooper said. “I fall asleep, and then I wake up numerous times because it's like re-living it over and over again.”

The shooting brings back her worst nightmares.

“A couple years ago my son passed away,” Cooper said.

She knows Wednesday’s shooting was new, but coping mechanisms are the same.

“Talk about it so you can move through,” Cooper said. “Don’t let it define you.”

Therapy played a major role in Laura’s healing and she’s encouraging witnesses to Wednesday's gunfire to reach out for help.

“It's very, very normal for people to not understand the impact of what they've witnessed until their systems have had a chance to calm down,” said Aryana Abbas, who runs community engagement for Be Collective KC, one of the multiple practices offering free therapy sessions after the shootings.

There are other organizations, including Great Oaks Therapy Center in Westport, which like Be Collective KC, is offering each person three free sessions after Wednesday’s shooting.

“The way that we typically define trauma is a little bit different than what it actually is,” said Michelle Worley, the owner of Great Oaks Therapy Center. “This event can be traumatic for people in different ways," she said. It might hit some people right away and they’re feeling that anxiety and others it might take weeks or months for it to kick in.”

Both centers have seen an increase in patients after posting about their free therapy sessions.

The centers welcome the new clientele.

“The courage and vulnerability it took for them to reach out felt so good,” Abbas said. “It was really important to us that people with no holds could come to us and say: 'I'm struggling right now, I need help and and we would readily be available.”

Abbas says they’d love to offer these services for as long as possible because trauma has no timeline.

Worley said it’s important for community members to help to make free counseling services available for people when therapy centers exhaust their funds.

“For the people that can afford therapy, there are nonprofits donations could be made to,” Worley said.

Worley recommended The Fountain Fund, a nonprofit that works to increase accessible mental health care in the Kansas City area.

Other groups are collaborating to use their money to pay for counseling services.

The Church of Kansas City, which represents a group of religious leaders and churches in the Kansas City, work to raise money for multiple efforts, including funeral expenses for Lisa Lopez-Galvan’s family, medical expenses for victims and free counseling services. They’ve combined their efforts to spearhead ‘The Church Loves Kansas City’ landing page.

“We just want the city to know that we want to wrap the love of Jesus around what’s happened in our city, this tragedy, and the people that are involved,” said Gary Kendall, one of the organizers of those efforts and founder of Love KC, a Christian resource organization.

There is information on how to access these free resources:

Be Collective KC:
Phone: 816-200-0223 (call or text)
Email: Admin@BeCollectiveKC.com

Great Oaks Therapy Center:
Email: michelle@greatoakstherapy.com

The Church Loves Kansas City:
Email: gary@lovekc.net