Jaycee Dugard Is Living Out Her Dreams 7 Years After Escaping Her Nightmare

Jaycee Dugard is giving an update on her life seven years after she was rescued from the hellhole she had lived in since being kidnapped as a young girl. In an interview with ABC News‘ Diane Sawyer, Jaycee Dugard said that while she was being held captive in a backyard by her kidnappers, she never gave up hope.

Dugard revealed that she even hid small scraps of paper on which she made a list of her dreams for the future. Some of the things on Jaycee’s list included “See mom,” “ride in a hot-air balloon,” and “swim with dolphins.” Another was “write a bestseller,” and Dugard has done that already — and may be about to do it again.

Jaycee Dugard was just 11 years old when she was kidnapped by Phillip and Nancy Garrido while standing at the bus stop near her home in Lake Tahoe in 1991. Dugard was held for 18 years and gave birth to two daughters after being raped by Phillip Garrido. Jaycee and her girls were rescued in 2009 and they were reunited with her family.

Dugard, who is now 36 years old, wrote about her real-life horror story in her 2011 best-selling book A Stolen Life: A Memoir, and her follow-up book, Freedom: My Book of Firsts, is due out on July 12.

Now, Jaycee is talking about her life after her captivity, and she is making it clear that while her story has been compared to the fictional story told in the Oscar-winning movie Room, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Dugard told People that while she actually liked the movie about a mother and her son held captive for seven years in a small structure, she said it gave a false portrayal of what it’s really like for a person to get their freedom back after years of being held against their will.

“The story gives a false depiction of what reality is after captivity,” Dugard told the magazine. “The way the central character is treated is exactly what you should not do. Putting a survivor in the hospital with a doctor who looks like the perpetrator is exactly the wrong thing to do.”

Jaycee Dugard clearly speaks from personal experience. Dugard is also the founder of JAYC Foundation, an organization that provides support services to families recovering from abduction and other traumas. Dugard said her mission is to “help people get the help my family got.”

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During and after her abduction, Jaycee Dugard has been very careful to protect her two daughters. The girls, who were previously revealed to be named Angel and Starlit, are kept out of the public eye. But in her new book, Jaycee has revealed that one of her daughters is in college and her other daughter will be starting college soon.

Dugard says she is proud of her girls for “all the challenges they have overcome.” Jaycee also reiterated that she has done her best to protect her children over the years and that she chose not to write in too much detail about them because she wants to give them the opportunity to tell their own stories in the future should they choose to do so.

As for Jaycee Dugard, in her interview with Sawyer, she said she has not ruled out trying to find a romantic relationship — it just hasn’t happened yet. Jaycee said her ideal mate would be caring, have a sense of humor, and love to cook. And Jaycee is still checking off boxes on her dreams list. The only one she hasn’t at least partially fulfilled yet is “touch a whale.”

Take a look at the video below to see Jaycee Dugard talking to Diane Sawyer about her life today.

[Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]