Mollie Tibbetts’ legacy lives on in support of children’s hospital

Local News

The dream of a 20-year-old Iowa girl who was murdered continues to live on.

Mollie Tibbetts was killed in Brooklyn, Iowa, back in 2018.

Last month, Cristhian Rivera was convicted of  first-degree murder in that case. During the week of the trial, a group of runners ran 62 miles from  Iowa City all the way to  Davenport.

The goal: To raise money for the Mollie Tibbets Foundation that benefits the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

The run raised more than $18,000.

Although her life was taken away too soon, Mollie’s legacy continues to live on.

Mollie Tibbetts’ mother says mental health is a cause that means a lot to both her and Mollie because it was what Mollie was going to school for.

“Mollie wanted to be a child psychologist to help people who were struggling through issues in their childhood,” said Laura Calderwood, Mollie’s mother.

Not only did Mollie want to help people who were suffering from mental health issues, but also she herself had a struggle with anxiety.

“She didn’t even know what was happening to her and then we figured it out that was important. And once she realized what was happening to her, it subsided,” Calderwood said.

The Run Across Iowa raised more than $18,000 for the Mollie Tibbetts fund to donate to the children’s hospital. Hanna Stevens, with the children’s hospital, says the money will help save many children’s lives because many mental-health experts say disorders start at a young age.

“Not only do these problems start at that age, we can make a bigger difference if we set things in a better, more positive direction at that age,” said Stevens, director, University of Iowa Division of Child Adolescence Psychiatry.

“It’s definitely been shown that the earlier that things start to change and things start to get more mentally healthy, the longer a person can go without having struggles,” she said.  

The children’s hospital plans to launch new initiatives to combat mental-health issues.

“We’re going to have creative projects developed by our child psychologists in the division working with undergraduate students at the university to be able to enhance youth mental health with their own ideas using the creativity of young people and all of our professionals to make a bigger difference,” Steven said.

In total, the Mollie Tibbetts fund has raised more than $125,000 to help in the efforts to fight mental-health disorders.

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