Sheryl Lee Ralph’s role as a devoted mother has guided her through a series of tests and blessings, culminating in a story of resilience that defies all odds.
In 2013, her son, Etienne, faced a sequence of harrowing events that put their family’s strength to the ultimate test. A severe car accident followed by a mugging, during which he endured three gunshot wounds – twice in his leg and a grazing shot on his forehead – thrust them into a realm of fear and uncertainty.
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Recalling those heart-wrenching moments, Ralph, now 67, confided to PEOPLE, “There are moments in your children’s lives that will bring you to your knees.” Yet, these trials acted as a crucible for transformation, enabling Etienne to emerge with renewed purpose and a deep commitment to helping others.
As Ralph currently champions a partnership with MadeGood, supporting a back-to-school campaign aimed at providing funds to educators across North America, she highlights the strength of testimonies born from trials. “The test has transformed into a testimony,” she stressed, describing how their family’s pain and challenges paved the way for Etienne’s profound mission.
Drawing from his own life experiences, Etienne has assumed the role of CEO and founder of WalkGood, a prominent Los Angeles-based organization that brings together diverse individuals under the umbrella of arts, health, and wellness.
“With each glimpse of him, I witness a miracle,” Ralph affirmed, her voice resonating with gratitude and wonder. The scars from Etienne’s past have ignited his unyielding dedication to WalkGood, where he leads initiatives focused on community healing and growth, exemplifying the concept of turning adversity into empowerment.
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In a poignant reflection shared on social media, Etienne shed light on his remarkable journey, revealing, “I want to take a moment to let everyone know that I’m okay, and that [those incidents] occurred 9, 10 years ago.” These life-altering experiences have guided him towards his current mission, driving transformative change through WalkGood’s endeavors.
Amidst the scars and memories, Ralph remains an unwavering source of strength for her children. Etienne and his sister, Ivy-Victoria (known as “Coco”), 28, have flourished under her nurturing guidance. Ralph shares them with her former husband Eric Maurice, from whom she parted ways in 2001.
Etienne’s narrative took a joyful turn as he found love and partnership with Stephanie Wash, a distinguished journalist at ABC News. The couple recently became engaged in New York City, embarking on a new chapter brimming with promise and happiness.
Ralph’s journey as a mother has been marked by enduring challenges and triumphant growth. As she reflects on Etienne’s profound transformation from tragedy to empowerment, her gratitude shines forth: “I am profoundly thankful to God and Goddess for his presence in my life… Thank you, God.”