Remarkable Women: Son's shooting inspires mother to help survivors of gun violence

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DeAndra Yates-Dycus

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Life changed for DeAndra Yates-Dycus six years ago.

On Feb. 1, 2014, her 13-year-old son, Dre, asked to go to a birthday party.

“He said, ‘Mom, can I please go?’ And I said, ‘OK, listen, you can go. Um, but don't get in any trouble.’ Not that I thought Dre would get in any trouble. He just wasn't that kind of kid,” DeAndra recalled. “He gave me a hug and he said, ‘I love you.’ And I said, ‘I love you too, son.’ And that's the last time I heard his voice.”

Later that night, she answered a phone call no parent ever wants to get.

“Get to the hospital, Dre’s been shot and I froze. He's 13. He's at a birthday party. Who would shoot him?”

More than 20 bullets ripped through the home where that birthday party took place. One bullet hit Dre in the head, permanently altering the course of the life of the honor roll student and star athlete.

“I remember saying, ‘OK, God, just allow him to live and I'll be his arms and I'll be his voice and I'll be his legs if you just let him survive.”

Dre never gave up. Neither did DeAndra.

“We wanted to celebrate his fight. And so my cousin said, ‘Let's have a basketball tournament.’”

From that tournament came the nonprofit “Purpose 4 My Pain”—a group dedicated to helping families and survivors of gun violence.

“My goal for Purpose 4 My Pain is to make sure that we are supporting these families in the aftermath. It is beyond a news story that flashes on for 30 seconds,” DeAndra said. “You are forever on this journey and people need to know that, um, there's funerals there, support in the moment, but this is a lifetime journey and I have vowed to be with these women for a lifetime on this journey.”

DeAndra is a volunteer with the Everytown Survivor Network and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Her journey inspired her mother and cousin to nominate her as a Remarkable Woman.

“So she has inspired me just by, just not sticking down in herself to the, and feeling sorry for herself and go, why me? Why? You know, why me? Why did it happen to me? She embraced it and turned it all into purpose,” said her mother, Kathy Knox.

“I make sure that, you know, out of all the blessings that have come from what happened to my son and this journey that I make sure I stay humble,” DeAndra said.

“I'm inspired and I'm grateful that I'm motivated by my family. You know, seeing me persevere, you know, that it has, um, an impact on them because I never set out to be anything great. I just thought I was being a good mom. Like I'm like, who, who wouldn't do this for their child? That's my thought is who wouldn't do this?”

To this day, the shooting remains unsolved. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at (317) 262-TIPS.

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