Balloon release and vigil planned to honor and welcome Michelle Knight home

CLEVELAND - The big welcome home ceremonies for Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry have community members coming together to show Michelle Knight she is also supported and honored. People are dropping off balloons and stuffed animals at the home of Michelle's grandmother.

"Out of the kindness of my heart, I figured I'd get Michelle some balloons too," Rachael Shaughnessy said.

"I knew that she needed the support. We went to school with her and I know a lot of my friends were close to her," high school classmate Andrienne Eisenmann said.

The display is growing by the hour as more community members stop by to welcome Knight home. People who  don't even know the family are looking for ways to help after seeing very few tributes to Knight since she was freed.

"The most painful thing of everything was when I heard of Michelle Knight, and I didn't see not one teddy bear, not one balloon, not one flower. It really bothered me," Debbie Pagan said.

Pagan has been glued to the coverage and is so happy the girls are free once again. Her heart breaks for all of them, especially Knight.

"I would tell Michelle if you need a friend, I'm your friend. I can only hope, wish and pray for the best. I just want her to be happy," Pagan explained. "I just feel she, too, needs somebody to wrap their arms around her and say 'welcome back! I love you and we can help you now.' We can't erase what happened in the past, but we can help her take those baby steps to move forward."

Pagan hopes these three brave women continue to receive support for months to come.

A balloon release is planned for Thursday evening at 2207 Seymour Ave. Mothers Coming Together, along with Survivors/Victims of Black on Black Crime, are coordinating the balloon launch for Michelle Knight to let her know she is no longer forgotten.

Our Facebook friends said they're also planning a Saturday vigil outside MetroHealth Medical Center. It will be from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is a grassroots effort to honor Knight.

Knight's grandmother is overwhelmed by the support. She said Knight is requesting privacy at this time, and has not allowed family members to see her at the hospital. Many lost touch with Knight, some even before she went missing. Knight was reported missing in 2002 by her mother.

"I am a little heartbroken, but I can understand because of what she went through," Deborah Knight said. "I would tell her how much we missed her and love her."

Deborah said she's not sure she'll be able to hold it together if a reunion were to happen. She hopes it will be a happy Mother's Day.

It's unclear when Knight will leave the hospital for home.

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