Angel McCoughtry has a lot of titles – five-time WNBA all-star, two-time Olympic gold medalist and all-time leading scorer for the University of Louisville women's basketball program, to name a few.
Soon, you'll be able to add "app creator" to that list. The star basketball player with deep ties to Louisville told The Courier Journal she's worked with tech and coding specialists to put together a new website and app aimed at letting family members create a digital time capsule, with messages for loved ones to be shared with them after the person who recorded them has died.
The goal of the project, called "PS, I'm With You," is to give people who may not be alive much longer a chance to pass along words of encouragement to friends or family members after their death, McCoughtry said – a congratulatory message to a grandchild to be played years later on the day of their wedding, for instance, or after graduation.
McCoughtry, who's now 35 after graduating from Louisville and jumping to the WNBA in 2009, said a dream she once had was the inspiration behind the app, which she hopes to launch later this year. But she was spurred into action following the unexpected death of former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant in early 2020. After he died, McCoughtry said, she read a story about his widow Vanessa Bryant finding a letter her husband had written for her before his death.
"Once Kobe passed away, I was like, 'I have to get this done.' Because what if you could still, right now, leave messages for his little girls?" McCoughtry said. "... When those two young girls turned 18, congratulate them, when they graduate high school ... or when they get married, already had (the message) in advance."
The website will be geared more towards the elderly, along with people with high-risk jobs or individuals who may have a terminal disease and want to leave tokens for their loved ones to see once they're gone. McCoughtry used her grandparents as an example – she wished they could have left messages and gifts for her parents. The messages recorded in "PS, I'm With You" are referred to as "echoes," she added.
Still, she said, the program will be able to be used by anyone. After all, "nobody's guaranteed tomorrow."
"We never know when our time stamp is up," she said. In many cases, people "take for granted that we're going to have tomorrow. You know, it's really not guaranteed."
Daniel Zohar, who helped with the website's technical development, said two versions will be available for users. The free plan will permit users record unlimited videos of up to 1 minute with ads, to be sent to one person and be kept by one person. The paid version – between $10 to $15 a month – will allow an unlimited number of videos to be sent to an unlimited amount of people with no advertising, he said.
The website will be launched in October during a tech conference in Disney, McCoughtry said, and it should be available to the public by the holidays. Initially, the program will only be available through its website, but officials behind it hope to make it available as a mobile app in the future, Zohar said.
Zohar hopes "PS, I'm With You" will get people to ask themselves some questions, and use it as a chance to remain in the lives of their loved ones.
"Why don't you leave videos for your loved ones in the future? Why don't you expand your life to a little bit further down the road to see your grandchildren to your grandchildren's children?" he said. "So I really hope that it becomes basically a daily library that you can leave behind."
McCoughtry, meanwhile, hopes the website will "provide healing and closure for people."
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