“I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say because of you, I didn’t give up.”
Erin left her mark on so many hearts and lives during her 22 years of life. She taught us how to be strong, kind, generous and to live life to the fullest. Fall of 2015, Erin planned to attend the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law to achieve her goal of helping victims of sexual assault and working toward prevention.
Erin was passionate and cared deeply about this important work because she was a survivor of sexual assault. When looking for support, she realized that something had to be done for survivors and to prevent sexual assault.
But, on January 16, 2016 at 22 years old, Erin’s life ended from a rare cancer, Ewing’s Sarcoma.
The hardest letters Erin had to write was first deferring her law school acceptance and then ultimately giving up her spot to become a lawyer once her illness was diagnosed terminal. Erin’s dream of spending her future improving the lives of individuals and families affected by sexual assault would not be coming true.
We know that we can’t replace the change Erin would have continued to make in our world. But, we would like to try.
The Erin Michele Levitas Education Foundation was created to focus on the prevention of sexual assault and support for survivors. The Foundation is currently supporting two programs. The Erin Michele Levitas ‘11 Mind, Body, and Soul Empowerment Program at Erin’s high school, will help the women of St. Timothy’s School just as Erin had wanted.
The other is the Erin Levitas Initiative for Sexual Assault Prevention at the University of Maryland Fransis King Carey School of Law that will create and fund a new program focused on preventing behaviors in elementary and middle school students that lead to sexual assault.
We invite you to be a part of Erin’s legacy and the solution to preventing these horrors from happening to others. Please join us in helping continue Erin’s mark on the world by supporting the Erin Michele Levitas Education Foundation or one of the specific programs that speaks to you.
Thank you for making sure less mothers, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, fathers and friends lay awake at night because something was taken from them or a loved one.
Erin was a person who radiated inner light and was deeply good. She listened well and made you feel worth and valued. Her laugh was contagious and her manner was infused with gratitude.
Erin was willing to fight through challenges, setbacks and difficulties because in the long run she was always hopeful for a better outcome she did not allow obstacles and challenges to overwhelm or define her. Erin taught us all something about integrity not just in the sense of moral goodness and doing right by others, but in the sense of knowing yourself and trusting your inner compass.
A happy, bubbly child, Erin exuded joy and confidence. When she was in first grade she was diagnosed with dyslexia and attended Jemicy School in Owings Mills, MD for children with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. At Jemicy Erin began to better understand how she learned and how to advocate for herself, not just in school but in all areas of her life.
Erin then attended St. Timothy’s, a demanding high school in Baltimore, MD with an International Baccalaureate curriculum. There she flourished academically, athletically and in leadership roles.
Her next decision was to attend Wake Forest University. She immersed herself in campus life joining sorority Alpha Delta Pi, Hillel and was selected as the only student member of a university board that wrote academic policies. She was also head tour guide, Theta Chi’s little sister or sweetheart, and she helped start a campus support group who were victims of sexual violence. An effort motivated by an experience of her own.
Erin’s next goal was to go to law school to prepare for a career as an advocate for women victims of sexual assault. She had accepted a spot at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and would start in the Fall.
After a personal experience with sexual assault home for break during college, Erin’s life changed forever. Devoted to making change she became an advocate and a person of support for friends and strangers. Her future path was clear to her. Erin’s was going to change things and ensure what she went through wouldn’t happen to others. She wanted there to be less victims and for all victims to have support and to know they weren’t alone.
Just two months before graduation and nights before heading on spring break, pain in Erin’s stomach later revealed she had Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare Cancer.
With less than two months until graduation Erin began chemo treatments while finishing papers and finals, ultimately graduating cum laude. Nothing short of an impossible feat for a young, dyslexic woman undergoing chemo, fighting for her life.
On January 16, 2016, just a month shy of her 23rd birthday, Erin Michele Levitas left this world. Erin left us with a legacy to appreciate life, to change the world for those living with the pain of sexual assault and rape, and to eliminate the experience she and many others had from ever happening again.