LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — On Oct. 1, 2019 people will honor 58 loved ones and will be reminded of physical and emotional wounds. One Las Vegas woman is making it her mission to help others heal on a day that’s supposed to be about her.
“The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,” said Courtney Oldenburg as she read messages from around the world. “There’s even one from Australia,” she continued.
In a thick binder, Oldenburg has endless poems, prayers, and even pictures.
“Any time you open it you always see one you didn’t see before,” she said as she flipped through the pages.
Almost two years ago, she and her boyfriend were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, celebrating her 20th birthday on October 1, 2017.
“I knew right away, like — it’ll never be the same ever,” she said of her birthday.
Oldenburg also recalled the need to do something.
“At that point, it became not necessarily about me, but more about the book,” said Oldenburg.
Oldenburg bought a binder and left it at the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign, among white crosses dedicated to 58 victims, and picked it up weeks later.
“When I picked it up I sat in my car for about 15 minutes and just bawled my eyes out,” Oldenburg recalled. “It was just such an overwhelming feeling of sadness, but such an overwhelming feeling of support and love.”
Almost two years have gone by, and like many others, Oldenburg is still healing.
“The panic attacks, and the anxiety attacks, and trying to fit back into real life,” she explained.
But Oldenburg finds relief in the binder’s pages. Now, as her 22nd birthday approaches on October 1, she’s looking for more entries for the self-made book.
“Whatever they want; if they want to send a poem, a prayer, a song lyric that really gets to them,” she said of the types of entries she hopes to receive to show herself and thousands of others that their stories aren’t over.
“This isn’t just about me anymore; it’s about everyone affected,” Oldenburg explained. “It’s my history, but it’s Vegas’ history too.”
Anyone who would like to add to the book and send Oldenburg a story, letter, poem, or even a birthday card can send it to P.O. Box 82353 Las Vegas, NV 89180-2353.