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Elizabeth Smart Tells Her Story To Record Crowd At Event For Norwalk's STAR

Elizabeth Smart addresses the packed house at the fourth annual STAR Speaker's Luncheon. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
STAR parent Mandy Heavey talks to the crowd about her son, Will, and their family's personal experience with STAR. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
STAR parent Mandy Heavey's husband, and son, Will, share their personal story with the crowd. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A record crowd shows up to hear Elizabeth Smart at the STAR Speaker's Luncheon at Woodway Country Club. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Fox 5 reporter and anchor Sharon Crowley is on hand to introduce Elizabeth Smart and moderate a Q&A session. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A record crowd shows up to hear Elizabeth Smart at the STAR Speaker's Luncheon at Woodway Country Club. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A record crowd shows up to hear Elizabeth Smart at the STAR Speaker's Luncheon at Woodway Country Club. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
A record crowd shows up to hear Elizabeth Smart at the STAR Speaker's Luncheon at Woodway Country Club. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

DARIEN, Conn. — Elizabeth Smart was the featured speaker at STAR Inc.'s fourth annual fundraising Speaker's Luncheon on Thursday at Woodway Country Club in Darien.

Smart — who was abducted at age 14 from her home in Salt Lake City in June 2002 and held hostage for nine months — had the crowd riveted with her memories of the ordeal. At one point, Smart said that while she wasn't glad it had happened, she was "grateful for what she learned from it."

Smart, who is now 28, also discussed her memoir, "My Story," a New York Times best-selling book that detailed her abduction and rescue.

She and her husband, Matthew Gilmour, have a 1-year-old daughter, Chloe. Smart also works as an advocate and founded the Elizabeth Smart Foundation , which promotes awareness about abduction and works to stop predatory crimes.

Over 400 people attended the sold-out event, which raised more than $50,000 for STAR, Inc.

A question-and-answer session after Smart's talk was moderated by Fox 5's Sharon Crowley.

Norwalk-based STAR Inc., Lighting The Way was established in 1952 by parents who believed that children with developmental disabilities were entitled to the same basic opportunities in their home community as other children, and as an alternative to institutionalization.

Today the organization has grown to include a full array of services for over 500 individuals with disabilities and their families, from birth to their senior years. Services are provided for families in Norwalk, New Canaan, Wilton, Weston, Westport and Darien.

Click here to learn more about STAR Inc.

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