07/10/2013 AT 8:00 AM ET
When Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight reunited July 2 to record a video thanking supporters, they could not hold back their emotions.
“They cried and hugged. They have genuine happiness to be alive, to be out there, to just BE,” Chris Kelly, the lawyer managing the Cleveland Courage Fund on behalf of the women, says in this week’s PEOPLE.
In the video that posted Tuesday on YouTube, they thank family, friends and complete strangers for the outpouring of support they’ve received since escaping alleged kidnapper Ariel Castro after a decade in captivity. Castro has pleaded not guilty to 329 counts including 139 charges of rape.