Cleveland kidnapping survivors Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus receive Hope Award, give emotional speech [Video]
Recognized for their courage and resilience as abducted teenagers.
Cleveland kidnapping survivors Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were presented with the Hope Award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, May 6.
The women were honored for surviving a decade-long captivity at the hands of kidnapper Ariel Castro when they were only teenagers. A third Castro survivor, Michelle Knight, was acknowledged at the event, but did not receive a Hope Award because she was 21 at the time of her abduction.
Amanda Berry was kidnapped by Castro on April 21, 2003, when she was 17-years old. She was repeatedly raped in captivity, and gave birth to a daughter, Jocelyn.
Gina DeJesus was friendly with the Castro family before her kidnapping on April 2, 2004 at the age of 14. She has described being chained, repeatedly raped, and suffering other atrocities at the hands of her captor.
DeJesus, Knight, Berry, and her now seven-year old Jocelyn escaped on May 6, 2013, after Berry was able to summon help.
On the anniversary of their rescue, two of the women were honored at the 2014 Hope Awards for "their courage and resilience and for giving hope to families still searching for their missing children," according to NCMEC's website.
In accepting her award, Berry offered words of encouragement to those searching for missing children.
"If I could say only one thing, it would be this: Never give up hope, because miracles do happen," she said through tears.
DeJesus echoed that sentiment.
"Always believe in hope," she emphasized, "even though sometimes it's hard to believe in hope. Just pray to God, and God will give you that hope."
Berry and DeJesus also met President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House during their D.C. trip.
The two women are working on a book about their ordeal and life after their escape. Michelle Knight released her memoir, "Finding Me," on May 6.
Watch Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus' emotional speech below: