real life

Loren O'Keeffe: “I still forget that Dan's not missing any more."

When you wake up on the day your life changes for ever, it seems like every other morning.

So it was for Loren O’Keeffe on July 15, 2011. When she went to her job as a Communincations adviser that day, she didn’t know a phone call from her mum that night would shift everything, permanently.

Her mother, Lori was telling her that her younger brother, 24-year-old Daniel was missing from the family home. Loren was the second youngest of four kids, and Dan and Loren had always been partners in crime.

The family knew that Dan had been struggling from depression. They’d talked about it a lot, and were doing everything they could to support him.

Loren with Dan, their sister and grandmother. 

From the moment she got that call, Loren's whole life became about finding Dan.

Three days later, she set up the Dan Come Home Facebook page, which turned into a community and a website. She quit her job. She wrote a post for Mamamia, that led to an appearance on The Project. Then she founded the Missing Person's Advocacy Network, or MPAN, which is the only charity of its kind in Australia, helping the families of Missing Persons in a way that no government agency ever has.

And then, in March this year Dan was finally found, in a cavity under the family home. He had been there all along. And that raised as many questions as it answered.

Hear Loren talk about that, here:  

When Mia Freedman met Loren for this interview, she was impressed by how effervescent and full of life and laughter she was.

But as Mia says, "When we started to talk about Dan, her beautiful smiling face suddenly changed. And I could see that she was really thrown back into the five years that she spent hoping desperately, that he would be found. That every email she opened, every comment she read on the Facebook page, every phone call to the hotline that she picked up, would lead them to finding Dan."

Mia meets Loren at Melbourne's Mamamia offices.

This is an extraordinary story, from an extraordinary woman...

Listen to the whole interview, here:

To help Loren, and the families of Missing Persons across Australia, visit the MPAN website here. And find out more about Loren's Too Short stories campaign here.

Tags: current-affairs , family , no-filter , podcast
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