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Remembering Amy

Amy Oestreicher – a multi-talented artist, performer and writer, who battled all the odds after tremendous medical issues with courage, grace, resilience, and humor – died April 9th, 2021 just shy of her 34th birthday.

Amy Oestreicher and her fiancé Brandon Thetford.

Amy almost died 16 years ago when she was 18. Shortly after Amy’s high school senior prom a blood clot caused her stomach to explode, putting her in a coma for months. When she woke up she learned she might never be able to eat or drink again. After 28 surgeries and seven years surviving off of IV nutrition, her digestive system was finally reconstructed. Amy details this recovery experience in her first book, My Beautiful Detour: An Unthinkable Journey from Gutless to Grateful“.

During her recovery Amy found true grit and determination when about 3 years after the fact decided she did not want to be defined by this incident, “I wanted to live life.” Shortly after she had regained enough strength, Amy returned to the performing world and was able to star in countless local theater productions. She even went on to produce and star in her own 1-woman show, “Gutless & Grateful: A Musical Feast.”

Along with her talents on stage, Amy grew a passion for creating art as a form of art therapy using bold colors and lines in combination with found materials to express herself. She also began offering a series of mixed media workshops called “Show Me Your HeART.”

In 2016, Amy began writing as a blogger for TurningPointCT.org to share her recovery story and her passion for art. You can find her blog posts on the Media room under the Bulletin Board tab on and filtering by category: “Blog: Detourist – Amy) (CLICK HERE TO READ HER MOST RECENT BLOG POST: “How I Found the Courage To Heal on My Detour”) Her blog was well known and loved by the TurningPointCT.org community.

At the end of 2019, Amy interviewed and got the job to work for TurningPointCT.org as the SMART Recovery Group Coordinator. While working at TurningPointCT.org she did valuable work updating our Map and coordinating the local SMART Recovery groups during the COVID-19 Pandemic, helping to transition in-person groups to online.

After a year of working for the TurningPointCT project she decided to take some time to focus on her health, recovery and writing her second book, “Creativity and Gratitude” which was published a few days before she passed away.

I personally started my position at TurningPointCT at the same time as Amy and feel so fortunate to have gotten to know her in the short time I knew her. Before I met Amy, I had felt lost on my own detour and I was comforted by her positive energy despite everything she had been through. In many ways her story has helped to encourage me and countless others to continue on persevering through our mental health struggles and are determined to live our lives on our own terms. Thank you, Amy.

– Ella Moore

One Reply to “Remembering Amy”

  1. Marilyn and mark oestreicher and family says:

    Our family is so touched by this tribute to did to Amy. In spite of all the physical challenges and ptsd, Amy loved life so much. Creativity was the means for her survival and thriving life-and community was just as important to her. She loved working with you guys, she would come home and tell us this all the time. Thank you for the joy you gave her and opportunity to inspire others with her energy force. Best to you Ella and all of you at this wonderful organization. Warm regards, marilyn and mark oestreicher and family. And please give Margaret a hug from us!

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