Jaycee Dugard

March 11, 2012 by staff 

Jaycee Dugard, Now 31, Jaycee Dugard, who had been kidnapped at age 11 and held prison for 18 years, appeared at her first public event since her ordeal this weekend.

Receiving the Inspiration Award at famed fashion designer-philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg’s DVF Awards held at the United Nations, her words resonated.

“My name is Jaycee Dugard, and I want to say that because for a long time I wasn’t able to say my name and so it feels good,” she told the crowd.

“I am truly honored to be here tonight with all of these amazing women who have done and been through so much more than me.”

Dugard, who had two children fathered by her kidnapper, got very emotional when she thanked her mother’s unwavering support and faith.

“I have to say I felt her hope for many years and it gave me the strength to go on and live,” the soft-spoken Dugard said. “And I did live.”

“I have two beautiful daughters who I love with all my heart.”

Oprah Winfrey herself presented the honor to Jaycee at the DVF Awards, dedicated to honoring women for continued leadership, strength and courage.

Winfrey, who received the Lifetime Leadership award, said she had been eager to meet Dugard “to tell her how much her story and her life meant to me.”

“I am so proud of you,” said Winfrey. “You are using your courage and your strength and your power to show the world that you care.”

Speaking about her JAYC Foundation that helps families recovering from abduction, Dugard urged people to empower themselves by helping others.

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