CLEVELAND—Five years after being freed from captivity, one of the Seymour Avenue survivors spent her weekend dancing and smiling.
It was a celebration of “Life After Darkness” for Michelle Knight, who is now known as Lily Rose Lee.
Lily Rose’s family and friends joined her for an event at Windows on the River on Sunday where she promoted her book, “Life After Darkness,” and even marketed her own coffee. She also tells Fox 8 the event also marked as a celebration of her recent marriage.
Still, she knows all too well the significance of May 6, 2013.
It was her first day of freedom.
"If you guys don`t know, she jumped into both of their arms and told them never let her go and they didn`t,” said Latasha Watts, who organized Sunday’s event.
Wells planned an emotional surprise, and it was truly a touching moment to witness.
Cleveland police officers, Anthony Espada and Barbara Johnson, walked into the party and gave Lily Rose a big hug.
She had no idea they were going to attend.
"Just to see them after five years it's simply amazing, they are both gorgeous,” she said. "Oh my gosh, I bursted with tears, I was overwhelmed with tears of joy, I was super excited."
Both officers were first responders who brought Lily Rose, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus to freedom five years ago.
“This is a tremendous joy for me right now,” Lee said.
“The work that they do is so important because they protect the outside world from harm,” she emphasized.
The survivor tells Fox 8 she wants to continue to spread the message of hope to all.
"I want people to know there is life after darkness, don't let every situation that comes in your way control how you live your life. Always remember that you can get back up and survive the next day---it's well worth it. Wake up every morning have God give you grace and you will be perfectly fine,” Lee said.
The survivor is even smiling and dancing.
"It's not only a celebration of new beginnings with my new life and my new adventure, it's also celebrating with
good friends and family,” Lee said.
And with her husband by her side, she says she’s happy.
Lily Rose also knows her story continues to change peoples’ lives.
Those two CPD officers know that first hand.
"For them to say that I ran into their arms and I changed their life, and that I made them happy, that makes me filled with tears of joy because I was able to change their life in a special way,” Lee said.