Take a Breath: Survivor set for state Volunteer of the Year award

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Wendy Jo Morrison is a survivor.

The Brighton Township resident survived a brutal kidnapping at 19 to become an advocate for victims of crime. 

During that brutal kidnapping, Morrison’s assailant tortured and sexually assaulted her, raping her with a gun three times in a game of Russian Roulette.

“I (had a) better chance of winning the lottery than I did of living one time through Russian Roulette, let alone three times.” Morrison said. “At that moment I was given a really big gift of knowing that there’s nothing to fear with death. The experience really helped me find deep gratitude for my life. I was so grateful to be alive.”

Morrison’s served in the Peace Corps in a rural training center in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. She defied a diagnosis of a terminal disease. She works with the National Trauma Task Force and the Michigan State Police to raise awareness of the effect violent crime has on victims.

And, on June 5, Morrison will receive the Michigan Community Service Commission Volunteer of the Year Award at the Wharton Center in East Lansing.

The diagnosis of multiple system atrophy in 2010 guided her toward a way to deal with the trauma of her kidnapping, torture and rape.

“I believe the diagnosis of the MSA was my body’s way of telling me that I had not really dealt with this trauma in my life,” Morrison said. “It came out in a physical form.”

Multiple system atrophy is an autoimmune disease for which there is no cure, at least not within the borders of the United States. Refusing to accept the impossibility of treatment, Morrison found her answer in Biodynamic Breath and Trauma Release (BBTR) in Greece. She became the first person to be certified in BBTR in the United States.

“As part of my commitment to healing and aligning my own life, I brought it back to the United States and that’s how UBU Today started.” Morrison said.

UBU Today is nonprofit public foundation providing education, resources, workshops and access to world-renown natural techniques that bring forth renewed personal hope and healing to survivors. A team of 20 volunteers are dedicated to help survivors let go of the trauma they have experienced, including that stemming from kidnapping, post traumatic stress disorder, stress, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, depression and more. BBTR is a six-element approach that empowers the body’s natural process for healing through breathing techniques for therapeutic purposes. It has helped Morrison find a sense of peace.

“It allows people the opportunity to explore the things that are holding them back from feeling fully alive and addressing and letting go of those things and regaining personal power in a really strong way,” Morrison said. “It’s something we do every day, all day long. Breathing.”

UBU Today offers individual breath work sessions and half- to five-day workshops for victims of trauma, partnering with LACASA in Livingston County, Wayne County Safe, the Michigan State Police, and the Prosecuting Attorney Association of Michigan.

Morrison and UBU Today have been working to support victims of the #metoo movement. Their current projects include working with the survivors of the Larry Nassar/MSU gymnastics scandal, their attorneys, and Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosmarie E. Aquilina. They hope to provide 150 survivors with workshops. 

Morrison and UBU Today are also working toward building a trauma recovery center in Michigan, and are accepting donations on their website. Click here for details. http://wendyjomorrison.com/

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