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  • Sarah Waara

The power of a tie blanket

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

Katrina Mazier has a voice.

In 2015, Katrina was in a dark, challenging spot in her life. Katrina struggled with anxiety, being bullied and was sexually assaulted. With thinking there was no way out, she attempted suicide at age 15 before the start of her junior year in high school. Thankfully, she survived.

Now at age 24, Katrina credits God and Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital for giving her a second chance at life, and a second chance to use her voice.

“After getting out of the hospital, I had this overwhelming feeling that I was given a second chance at life,” Katrina said. “I got that second chance, and I knew that not a lot of people get that opportunity. I knew that I needed to speak up and be a voice for those who feel like they can’t speak, or for those who lost their life to suicide and can’t speak anymore.”

Katrina was on the fifth floor — the Adolescent Behavioral Health unit — at Ascension St. Elizabeth for a week. During that time, one small act of kindness changed her outlook on life. After having her belongings stripped away for safety and mental rehabilitation, she was offered a tie blanket.

To this day, Katrina still has that heart-ladened, paw-printed blanket.

“Hospital staff handed out tie blankets to all of the kids in the unit, and I picked the one that was blue with paw prints and hearts,” Katrina said. “When I picked that blanket, all of the hatred I had toward myself and the disappointment felt just faded away. I remembered I had a dog at home and a family that loved me. Knowing that someone in the community decided that we, the kids working through our mental health issues, deserve something handmade by them, made me realize that I am meant to be here. This was my second chance."

Since then, Katrina has been using her second chance to the fullest. So far she has spoken to more than 35,000 people both locally, regionally and nationally. Katrina has spent the past seven years competing for the job of Miss Wisconsin as a delegate within the Miss America Organization in order to further her social impact initiative “Irreplaceable - Suicide Prevention Awareness”. During her time as Miss Fond du Lac 2016, Miss Green Bay Area 2018, Miss Oshkosh 2019 and Miss Harbor Cities 2020/2021, she has created partnerships with local schools and organizations to spread her message and strives to end the suicide epidemic. Katrina has also made it her goal to help kids who were in the same spot as she was.

After being released from Ascension St. Elizabeth and undergoing follow-up therapy, Katrina started a fundraiser to raise money for fleece to make tie blankets. She held tie blanket tying parties and donated them to the Ascension Wisconsin Foundation, Catalpa Health and to a friend who was tying blankets for troops overseas.

Katrina’s second chance has led her to so much along the way: graduating with a college degree from UW-Oshkosh, learning about herself through spending time with her family and in nature, dancing, baking, modeling, traveling and most importantly, a powerful voice with a chance to inspire, empower and represent young women across the nation.

“My second chance helped me recognize that I could be a light for others, and I can help people understand that they aren’t alone and in the dark,” Katrina said. “Speaking about mental health is hard, and I am speaking up for every single person that may be going through something. There has been a stigma around mental health for so long, and it’s time to change that.” Because of donor support, we are able to fund life-changing behavioral health programs and services. Thank you for making it possible to help patients like Katrina.


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