Dear Alana,


Host Simon Kent Fung explores the life of Alana Chen, a 24-year-old woman who disappeared from Boulder, Colorado in 2019. Alana left behind two dozen journals chronicling a deep faith, love of fashion, and dream of becoming a nun. She also harbored a secret. At 14, she confessed to her priest that she was attracted to women and was instructed not to tell her parents. Over the next seven years, Alana covertly received conversion therapy which her family believes played a role in her fate. Simon, who sought to change his sexual orientation through conversion therapy for nearly a decade in his efforts to become a priest, is compelled to understand the truth of what happened to Alana—and finally face what happened to him. "Dear Alana," is an unraveling mystery and a poignant spiritual memoir about teenage rebellion and spiritual manipulation, the price we pay to belong and the systems that pay no price at all.

Explore more at

Recent Episodes
Episodes loading...
Recent Reviews
  • Savnuh
    Anything less than 5 stars is shameful.
    Hi Simon. I want you to know that I very much valued your story in this. Unlike a few reviews, I wanted to know why you were so drawn to her story, and I believe it is something that should be explained. I also believe that adding another personal anecdote to show that there are others facing these challenges is very important for other victims to hear. I loved both stories, and am saddened to hear how it was handled by the church, for her family’s sake and everyone who holds her in their hearts. I am thankful there are those who keep her memory alive and share her story to help others. Thank you for telling it.
  • lindy luvs music
    Heartbreaking, but honest storytelling
    Alana’s story breaks my heart. But it is so important to shed light on it. Simon does a beautiful job of sharing Alana’s journey, while interspersing his own. Honest, thoughtful and necessary storytelling.
  • GracieV2010
    This podcast left my heart broken….I left the church years ago because there were things I didn’t agree with…Listening to your stories…made me emotional. Definitely will be sharing Alana’s story.
  • Fermament
    Haunting, tragic, preventable
    It frightens me that in the 21st century we are using the six references in Scripture regarding homosexuality, who’s interpretations are debated by scripture scholars, to judge a person’s worthiness? And in Alona’s case, it was celibate nuns and priests making this judgement, without consideration for Alona’s own emerging sense of self, and abondoning her when she dared to disagree with their view of being a faithful Catholic. As a baby boomer, I have gained much from the spirituality of the mystics and courageous Catholic activists that have learned from and about in my life. However, this breed of young conservative clerics and religious are dangerous to the souls of the American Catholic Church. Thank you, Simon, for your sensitive and insightful piece of journalism.
  • Chocssss
    This podcast popped up when I was looking for a new one to listen to & I was already on the verge of tears in during the first episode. The way Simon told Alana’s story and how much alike his was to hers was heartbreaking yet beautifully told. Thank you for spreading awareness on this. As someone who recently left an organized religion, I fellllt and identify with Alana so much😭 Rest in love to her beautiful soul ❤️
  • crimeobsessedk
    Lacking substance
    This podcast seems more focused on the host’s story than Alana’s. The podcast moves so slowly and Alana’s story is so drawn out. I made it to episode 6 and had to quit because it feels like I still haven’t gotten to any real substance about what drove Alana to tragically take her own life.
  • me300
    Heart wrenching and frustrating
    This podcast was so timely and so needed. I don’t have much hope for large scale change from the church and how it deals with queer people, but I hope this will spark change for individuals in power and perhaps some softening of hearts.
  • Schmittner13
    This is one of the most incredible and beautiful story, so much I feel similarly. Thank you for sharing and telling this. May Alana always rest in peace and love
  • nlee8315
    No clear perspective or conscience
    Trying too hard to take a balanced approach and say positive things about the Catholic Church. Incredibly inappropriate in this context. The Catholic Church is responsible for Alana’s death but the host won’t just say that. Should have been hosted by someone with a clearer perspective rather than a Catholic who won’t condemn abuse and call out an evil institution.
  • FrequentPlayer17
    Heartbreaking and Conflicting
    My heart hurt for Alana so much in this podcast. I also wondered why she would think about everyone knowing her most private thoughts. There were times when I felt Simon’s story took away from Alana’s. Basically, I wanted more Alana and less Simon. I do understand why the two are intertwined though. This is very complicated. As a Christian (not Catholic) the Bible does say homosexuality is a sin. So it’s not people just making this up to hurt people who are seeking Christ. I don’t know what the answer is and we all fall short, as there are many sins. But making sins optional, like we can make it not a sin if we don’t want it to be, is just not Biblical.
  • Terrashpere
    Beautiful, Heartbreaking, and Poignant
    Alana Chen’s story is so beautifully told in this podcast. The way that Simon Kent Fung winds his own story through the narrative is well balanced and really deepened my understanding of what Alana might have been thinking and feeling. In particular, Simon’s wonderful voice and obvious compassion and empathy for Alana, her family, and friends was so touching.
  • JessFishproudMom3
    Heart wrenching
    I feel tremendous anger towards the Catholic Church for their part in Alana’s suicide. I can’t believe this organization abused so many gay people and the multitudes of children with sexual abuse over the years. I was a Catholic for 40 years, but left after all the abuse was revealed. How can this organization still allow these terrible traumas and deaths to occur? This exact same church at CU created my step son’s extreme fanatical Catholic beliefs. It was cult-like behavior, and new college students were warned about cults on campus. Something is not right there and should be investigated or monitored closely. It’s scary. This podcast was so important to expose this terrible truth in honor of Alana and other victims like her. Thank you for sharing your difficult story too. God loves all of his children always.
  • Bowdizepha
    The host constantly continues to glamorize this cult after it drove this poor girl to take her own life. Shameful. Tenderfoot should be ashamed and embarrassed they allowed this to continue.
  • 90095
    Thank you
    This is an incredibly important story and I’m so glad you are telling it. Really well done!
  • ND#33
    Very haunting and poignant podcast. Alana was a creative, loving and sensitive soul and did not deserve the cruel treatment she received by people who purported to be religious and community leaders. “Conversion therapy” is dangerous, harmful, cruel and has no place in society. Alana deserved a life of love, happiness, and the freedom to be her authentic self. The Church failed her and I believe they hold culpability in her taking her life. God bless Alana, her friends and family.
  • ltcol20
    My heart breaks for this young teen and then young woman dealing with the recognition of being a Lesbian and also trying to live with lies pushed on her by her Roman Catholic belief system. Her mother and siblings loved her so deeply yet she could not let their personal experiences rise above the almighty institution.
  • Godlovesevery1
    My heart hurts
    Everyone needs to listen to this podcast. Especially church workers, priests, bishops, all Catholics. My heart hurts for Alana, her family and LGBTQ+ Catholics who may have experienced anything similar. Simon did a beautiful job sharing Alana’s story. By sharing her story this podcast is helping others. The Church cannot continue like this.
  • Terri Mom of 9
    Our son came out to us six months ago. He’s the 4th of our nine children and we’re Catholic. There’s a connection with this story. I used to be so “orthodox,” another connection. I desperately sought a shelter from my home life in the Church as a teen, like Alana. I’ve survived periods of shame and disillusionment that were suicidal. This podcast captures all of those experiences and feelings for me. I’m still Catholic, but my heart is in a wilderness with only a few meaningful touchstones left, mainly the sacraments. Thanks, Simon, for finding me in that wilderness and walking with me for eight episodes. Alana, pray for us!
  • Diana from St. Louis
    How well-intentioned people perpetuate harm
    This is a compelling and engaging podcast. It celebrates Alana’s life and gives meaning to her tragedy at the same time. Her religiosity reminds me of myself as a teenager. And the fact she kept so many journals. Even the way she journaled with timelines and lists, reminds me of myself. Conversion therapy is now banned for licensed counselors to practice but not banned in religious spaces due to freedom of religion/speech. This podcast investigates how religion gets by with it. How well meaning people perpetuate a lot of harm on individuals and I think of how I was a part of this/the college campus groups which Alana found herself in.
  • TruecrimeKSUGREAT
    So moving!!!
    This story touched my soul as someone who grew up in the church and still give all honor to God. I know that ultimately God is love and he loves all of us as we are. It is people that hold the judgement keep up the good work with love Jamilah❤️
  • NGrayFox
    It’s kind of disgusting that this stranger acts like he knows this girl just because of her journals then reads them for the world to hear. She couldn’t give consent for this, why would her mother allow this? Who would want this? She committed suicide because she couldn’t face who/ what she was so you decide to air all of her innermost thoughts and feelings? Despicable.
  • emmteeemm
    Tragic, beautiful story
    At first I didn’t get why Simon Kent Fung drew parallels to his own story, but his kindness, empathy, and care got through to me. His story is relevant as he tells Alana’s story because she could be any of us. She can easily be considered an “overthinker”, vulnerable to being overtaken by intrusive thoughts. Her family has such courage to tell her story, it’s an important one. They seemed to love her unconditionally, and that could not preserve her life. 💔
  • nicklvr77
    Deeply moving
    Thank you, Simon, for sharing your story and Alana’s. I can’t even tell you how much I needed to hear this podcast. Just, thank you.
  • Deanloveshiscaspie
    Moving, Inspiring, Necessary
    I came to this podcast after hearing the trailer and just expected it to be yet another unfortunate story on my shelf. I could not have foreseen how powerful and moving this would be. I never realized that I was missing this type of shared experience to validate and help me process my own spiritual trauma and abuse. Thank you to everyone who contributed for your honesty and courage. I cannot recommend this podcast enough. It is beautiful and tragic and inspiring all at once.
  • LDabz
    Beautifully done.
    This podcast is beautifully done, skillfully voiced/researched, & brings so much justice to this poor girl. I hope it brings Alana’s mother, father, & siblings some sort of peace & I hope Alana, in heaven, feels supported & loved. I went to a Catholic high school & all of this is all too familiar. Alana, you’re a beautiful soul & the religious community (the ones who ACTUALLY preach what Jesus taught: LOVE) AND the LGBTQ+ community loves you. Simon, thank you for sharing a bit of yourself & being so transparent. You too are a beautiful soul💜
  • Listener-unbiased
    This is a sad and tragic story, #1. The faith group at the college and those 2 Priests and the Counsellor that was seeing her should be taken to court. However , this poor kid needed psychological support and treatment waaaayyy before she found her solace in the church. The Church was initially a comfortable for her childhood emotional turbulence, and then her early psychological problems became exacerbated by extreme right wing conservative Catholic ideology, which is scary, that this was on a liberal college campus. Also, I feel sorry for her mom, but, I think she needed to step in a lot earlier and made a hard decision, parents aren’t your friend, this kid needed someone to sit her down and say, this isn’t healthy. If you want to be religious let’s find a community that isn’t abusive, because there are Catholic groups and denominations that are progressive and inclusive. This poor child was sadly failed on so many levels, I know that’s not nice, but it’s the truth.
  • YKWD....000000
    Apologetic perspective on conversion therapy
    In a show centered on the sucide of a young girl after years of religious indoctrination. The host manages to side stepped the EXTREME DANGERS of conversion therapy. The show continues to make excuses, apologies, and underplay how dangerous conversion therapy is. Do not recommend, to much of what feels like deflecting blame to everyone other than the practitioners. As a long time listener to @tenderfoot I expected better. This is DANGEROUS CONTENT positioned as an empathetic deep dive when in fact it’s the exact opposite.
  • jes.gio
    I am on episode 6 and this is one of the best podcasts I have ever listened to. It is so beautifully done and makes my heart hurt. I cannot wait to listen to the rest.
  • monkicatorres
    So addictive
    Truly captivating.
  • Kristofer_D
    Beautiful, timely, and deeply necessary
    I used to work in full time Catholic lay ministry, and witnessed lots of lives getting messed up due to the church’s culture wars and absolute deficit in accountability. Simon did a beautiful job giving us a portrait of a life lost, and ties it into the larger story of how much gaslighting happens to young queer Catholics. The negative reviews are baffling me. As Alana’s story unfolds, Simon sees a lot of himself in her, which makes perfect sense. The story of the queer but devout Catholic is a VERY specific one, so of course he sees himself in her, and ties this into a larger story. That’s just good writing. Much love Simon, keep doing this. Big thanks to Alana’s family for letting this story help so many.
  • Kassiephip
    Incredibly moving
    This seems very different for Tenderfoot, but it’s amazing. Every episode is heartbreaking. Simon is doing a beautiful job of telling Alana’s story, while also sharing his own. The parallels are insane. The person they chose to read Alana’s words is also incredible. This whole show is great and I look forward to a new episode every week. I pray that it will reach people who need it.
  • stacdo75
    A beautiful heartbreaking story
    So well done. Simon’s story also deeply touching.
  • PodcastLover20
    Truly Connecting
    The best podcast. Never felt like I was sitting next to the host talking more than when I listened to this one.
  • Mrs. Sugar pink
    Absolutely beautiful.
    Beautifully done. Heartbreaking.
  • Sofa King Bueno
    An important and thoughtful podcast
    Tenderfoot TV produces some of the best podcasts around so I was immediately onboard with listening to Dear Alana. At first I wasn’t sure about Simon’s narration style. In fact, I almost quit listening. However, by the time I got to episode three I was hooked and completely changed my mind about his style. The topic demands steadiness and introspection, which Simon accomplishes through his writing and delivery. He tells Alana’s story in a manner that allows the listener to draw parallels to their own life, particularly the struggle to be good enough. Thank you Simon and a heartfelt thanks to Alana’s family and friends. Sharing her story will save lives.
  • nirvnagrrrl
    This podcast is so beautiful but so infuriating. The fact that religion can be used to shame someone to the point of a self hatred so deep is incredibly upsetting. Simon has a voice that you can feel. Alana has a story that should never be. I feel for her mother and sister. I feel for all the loved her, mostly though I feel for her. I wish she could have loved herself in moments of difficulty and found comfort instead of despair.
  • Smduprez
    My favorite podcast
    It is a work of art. My heart and mind just grew exponentially. Simon is the best podcast host and storyteller I’ve ever listened to.
  • Cecimac&cheese
    In love
    It is so Moving. love it😍
  • Hollyhoo1
    Dear Alana
    I heard this on another pod and it said listen for free - all 8 episodes…I get to number 6 and it says free with trial. Feels like bate and switch.
  • hisgirlthursday
    THIS podcast
    Such beautiful storytelling and such an important story. Love how the writer weaves his own story of healing into the one he’s telling. As someone who grew up in the church and bears wounds from it, this podcast moved me. Thank you.
  • Herrow herrow how low
    Catholic Propaganda
    Where’s Alana in this story? Where? The victim is being erased by the host whose projecting his story onto hers, while protecting the very institution that abused, manipulated, coerced, and ultimately killed her. The only thing the host and Alana share in common, per the host, is that they were/are both gay and “devout” Catholics. That’s it. Instead, the host is dragging out this podcast with episodes dedicated solely to himself and Catholicism. An alarming amount of arbitrary Catholic bragging & name-dropping (oooh, wow, 1 whole scientist & 6 of the 9 SCOTUS Judges presently stripping our civil rights, and like, Stephen Colbert — all Catholic! Don’t tell me the Catholic Church has plans to ruin Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song with their own Christmas version “Bernie Sanders, not a Catholic — but guess who is? Most of the John Birch Society!”), now half an episode’s clips from Catholic sermons. I went to CU (like the victim, NOT the host) — and it’s downright offensive how he brands the entire student body as “chaotic,” (i.e. “Degenerate”), with his ASSUMPTION that Alana must’ve only felt solace at some separation of Church & State-violating secret on-campus Catholic Church. The host is so excited about this secret church, an entire episode goes to it, while we still know absolutely nothing about Alana’s case. At all. He’s too busy DEFENDING the Catholic Church every single episode!! Alana was being preyed upon by the Church, starting when she attended alone as a minor. Like many gay Catholics, she was being coerced into becoming a Nun in order to “prevent” her from “acting on her [so-called] sin.” The host generally acknowledges some obfuscated version of this, but diverts attention away from this problematic crisis by going off on a tangent about how he thought about being a Priest once [but not that seriously], and proceeds to attempt to NORMALIZE this anti-gay practice. Alana was tortured by the pressure put upon her to be a Nun… and the host further goes on to act like he doesn’t know Nuns sexualize Christ as their literal “husband.” A more worthwhile podcast to bring true understanding as to what Alana was being pressured into, solely because she was gay, is: Season 1 of The Turning: The Sisters Who Left. So instead of pretending Alana was “crushing on Jesus” in her diaries, the ultimate Catholic, this podcast’s host (selected for his living contradictions, which position him best to rewrite her story in positive light for the Church) has a duty to report honestly, tapping into his wealth of knowledge about how all Nuns are indoctrinated to see Jesus like that — instead of turning a dead girl’s most private thoughts into perverse spectacle. Alana’s thoughts weren’t abnormal — they weren’t even her thoughts! They were church doctrine she was struggling to accept, trying to comply with. No mention that her so-called “diaries” are obviously homework from the Grooming Priest. The host has never experienced living in society as a female. He never attended CU, despite his warped descriptions of the campus in Episode 5, which make it sound like he did… because, remember listeners, Alana’s just an extension of himself in this podcast. It’s not about what she or her family suffered at all. I bet they feel completely taken advantage of, if they can even bare listening to this. It’s Spiritual Abuse — why are we, the listeners, being forced to listen to Catholic sermons, blatant proselytization, and Catholic Church apologism?? Alana, unlike the host, had a family beyond justifiably scared about the hold the Catholic Church had on their child, who was being preyed upon by a Priest who refused to stop his secret meetings with her, even after confronted by her parents, and presumably the Church they filed a complaint to (who then “moved” him — how the Catholic Church handles predatory Priests). This Priest was concerning enough just based on the total psychological control and dominance he exerted over their daughter. One can only imagine what he did that we’ll never get to in THIS podcast. It is dehumanizing to hijack another person’s story, let alone one whose unable to speak for herself… because she was, at best, pushed into ending her life. We’re over halfway thru this hot mess, and we’re not even touching on the actual circumstances surrounding her death!! That’s, very likely the point — we’re likely not going to get there at all. This is a revictimization of Alana, and her surviving family, and Tenderfoot TV Producers selected a gay Catholic host based on his bona fides defending the Institution. Normalization, trivialization, “Catholics do things ‘for’ America and Science” (just like members of every other religion on Earth — with many doing far more by comparison), Catholics say Third Reich bad… but AH was Catholic!!!, victim-blaming Alana for getting “too wrapped up” in a religion that demands this level of devotion — especially to someone they believe is inherently wrong for existing as she is, etc. These are just some of the manuipuatlions being thrust upon listeners every single episode. Normalization, trivialization, denialism, dehumanization, erasing the individual, “educating” and “selecting” your audience, reframing the narrative, persecution complex rhetoric. These are just some of the psychological devices employed by war criminals and Publicist “fixers” alike. The host’s resume shows no reason why he showed promise telling a story he didn’t not research himself — his only purpose is to use his “identity” to justify what that institution did to Alana, and hundreds of thousands of others. This is not the first Tenderfoot TV “true crime” podcast reverse engineered as a PR Machine to defend perpetrators.
  • uf hu hb
    This one broke my heart
    Deeply heartbreaking and so well done. 💔
  • ErikaT
    So beautifully made
    I could not stop listening - even though this story is heart breaking, it is told so beautifully. Alana’s writing and story is told with such thoughtfulness. Simon did an amazing job telling his story and Alana’s. My heart aches for them both, Alana’s family and friends, but people need to hear this story.
  • KDFTC83
    I just unfollowed this. I was interested at first, but I became increasingly uncomfortable with how intrusive it felt to cover this poor dead girl’s VERY personal thoughts and experiences. I also found Simon too eager to compare his experience with Alana’s, and quick to assume he knew what she was feeling in a given moment. He may come to express different views later in the podcast, but the matter-of-fact way he discusses extremely problematic practices and points of view was the final icky straw.
  • ajal9988
    Best written podcast of the year. Powerful and moving
    This is such an beautifully composed story, and it hits all of the poignant notes of how children continue to be abused by the church in so many ways. I cried multiple times. Everyone should listen to this.
  • rodneyf2
    We’ll Done!
    My favorite thing is the narration! Love his voice and keeps me hooked!
  • Kml646
    A moving and important tribute.
    David and tenderfoot do a thoughtful and careful job exploring this devastating story. This story needed to be told. A Beautiful tribute and moving piece of art.
  • kham907
    Stubborn tears
    This was so beautifully written, and sad and made me feel all the things. I cried and laughed and connected more than I expected and then felt silly, because it’s just a podcast? But you made a story into a life that I relate too and found that I’m also praying and crying. Thank you for this.
  • Jamnjules
    This podcast is a must listen!! It is beautifully written and a wonderful tribute to Alana. The message is powerful yet so very sad. I appreciated the intertwined stories of the host and Alana. Well done. I sobbed through episode 7.
  • srt0914
    Love the content hate the ad format
    Please make it less abrupt! One legitimately broke a sentence in episode 3… it was very disorienting, especially on headphones. Otherwise the production and research is great!
Disclaimer: The podcast and artwork on this page are property of the podcast owner, and not endorsed by