Kaity's Way Kaity's Way

The morning of January 28, 2008 was the last time any of us heard "I love you" from Kaity. On that day Kaity's ex-boyfriend took her life as she was on her way home from school. She was nearly home when he took a gun from a duffle bag, shot her point blank, and then killed himself.

She dated this young man for a year. He seemed nice in the beginning, polite, respectful, and then about 6 months into the relationship he turned. Unaware of what was happening, Kaity thought she could help him; she thought she could fix him. She thought she could transfer the love she knew and grew up with. Eventually, with the support of her family and friends, she realized she could not. In late December 2007, Kaity decided to end this unhealthy, emotionally, and physically abusive dating relationship.

After ending the relationship Kaity moved on with her life and made a fresh start. A weight had been lifted. She was hanging out with family and friends more often. Shortly after New Years in 2008, Kaity and her Aunt Lorie decided to wash away the old to allow in the new. They did this by jumping in the back yard pool, and then right back out. Burrrrrrrr, but refreshing, we all laughed and had a great time.

Kaity was raised in a loving, blessed home. She had two sisters and two brothers. Kaity enjoyed sports, art, playing games and especially loved playing with the six dogs, Sedona, G, P-nose, Bandit, Harley and Piddly Poo and the cat, Ebony, of the household.

Kaity was in her last semester of high school and had been accepted to NAU to study Wildlife Sciences. She was fun loving and everybody's sweetheart-- a gracious, giving person who only wanted to help others. It was her nature.

In the wake of the terrible tragedy, Kaity's parents formed Kaity's Way, a nonprofit tax exempt organization, in honor of her name and memory. The mission of Kaity's Way is to promote understanding and educate the community to lessen the instances of violence among or against children through P.E.A.C.E. (Patience, Empathy, Acceptance, Caring, Equality). Kaity put forth these characteristics when she was here with us; therefore, Kaity's family will continue these characteristics through Kaity's Way.

As part of the mission and service to the community, Kaity's family shares her story in detail with any group, organization or individual that feels they could benefit from it. If you have a young person in your life, a daughter, son, niece, nephew, grand-daughter, grand-son, sister, brother, cousin, etc. Kaity's story could very well help you identify the Red Flags of an unhealthy, potentially violent relationship. Feel free to call upon us, we are here to help. In addition, Kaity's Way provides important and valuable resource information for the community with brochures and through a website: www.kaitysway.org.

Arizona Kaity's Law, which passed in 2009, is named for Kaitlyn Marie Sudberry. Kaity's Law allows others in violent dating relationships to be better protected under the law by allowing them to file an Order of Protection instead of having to settle for an Injunction Against Harassment as did Kaity.

Artist's Note: : Kaity breaks stereotypes: she was not abused and she did not see her parents abuse each other, but still fell prey to an unhealthy relationship. Her parents did everything they could to protect her, yet the law did not. That is why Kaity's Way was passed. Some people believe that an Order of Protection does nothing, but this is not true. It provides documentation (very important) of the abuse and allows the police to intervene. Kaity's parents could not get one to protect against the death threat made by the exboyfriend. If it had been allowed, the police could have searched the young man's belongings and confiscated the gun before he could use it. Kaity's parents worked to provide this extra level of protection to other people in unhealthy dating relationships. Now they use her story to raise awareness. For parents, there are several important lessons here that could save your child's life.