YAKIMA, Wash. - When Jaycee Dugard was just 11 years old, she was kidnapped while walking to a school bus stop in Meyers, Calif.
She was taken on June 10, 1991. For the next 18 years until her rescue, Jaycee was held captive, suffering at the hands of her captors.
On Aug. 26, 2009, Jaycee got to go home. Now, she travels the country helping people to understand how she got through it and how they can get through their trauma as well.
Jaycee spoke Monday to a crowded room of people at the annual United Way of Central Washington community breakfast at the Yakima Convention Center.
She described the experience of having two daughters in captivity by the age of 17 and the heinous abuse suffered at the hands of her captors: married couple Phillip and Nancy Garrido. The Garridos were arrested, charged and sent to prison.
Jaycee said telling her story has been an integral part of her healing. She's been telling it over and over for so many years that she says she doesn't live in the memories when she's speaking about them.
When Jaycee talks about her mom's search for her, however, she feels those memories more. She also feels them when people come up to her after she speaks.
"I don't think about it every day but it brings it home when you see the people come up to you and say, 'Oh, your story's impacted me,'" Jaycee said. "I just feel like a normal person most of the time but I think that's when it hits my heart the most is when I meet people like that."
Jaycee has authored two books about her experiences in and out of captivity. In 2011, she published an autobiography titled A Stolen Life about the 18 years she was held against her will.
Five years later, Jaycee published a second book, Freedom: My Book of Firsts about life after regaining her freedom.
Jayce created the JAYC Foundation to help families of kidnapping victims or victims of other traumas, connecting them with the services they need to make it through.