Volunteer Spotlight: Kathi Sturgeon

This past weekend MADD volunteer and crash survivor Kathi Sturgeon triumphantly completed the Seattle to Portland (STP) Bicycle Classic, just five years after she was severely injured when she was hit by a substance impaired driver while training for this same race in 2008. 

We congratulate Kathi on her hard work and perseverance, and thank her for her dedication and support of MADD.

Read Kathi’s story in her own words:


A Sobering Reality: Why I Walk Like MADD
By Kathi Sturgeon

June 18, 2008, is a day that I do not remember and it is a day I will never forget.

About 10:00 in the morning, while training for the 2008 Seattle to Portland (STP) Bicycle Classic with my friend Kathy, we were both hit by a car driven by a drunk driver. 

Both Kathy and I were seriously injured. Kathy sustained multiple breaks in her back, as well as other injuries, and was transported by ambulance to a local hospital.

One of the injuries I sustained was a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), I was air-flighted to a trauma unit at another hospital. I was taken into surgery where a craniotomy was performed: a portion of my skull was removed so that a collection of blood could be removed and to allow room for my brain to swell. I would be in a coma for nearly a week.

My left leg was also severely injured and surgery was performed to be able to save the leg; I suffered a separated shoulder and other cuts, bumps, and bruises. 

My condition was serious and I was not expected to survive. If I did survive, there was a question on how I would be able to function. Survive I did.

I would remain in I.C.U. for three weeks and then was transferred to a inpatient rehabilitation unit. After being in the rehab unit for six weeks, I was still not in a condition to return to my apartment, therefore I lived with friends for five months. At that point in time, I was able to return to my home, I would continue with outpatient rehabilitation.

On that day in June, besides the physical injuries I suffered, my life was turned upside down; major readjustments needed to be made in my life.

The injuries affected my ability to do my work, so I had to quit my job and went on full-time disability. I have needed to adapt and adjust to living with disabilities. My finances were impacted. I eventually moved to Washington state, where I am originally from, to be close to family and to help with my finances. 

On June 18, 2008, I was hit with the sobering reality of being hit by a car driven by a drunk driver; by someone who made the choice to drive why they were under the influence of alcohol. A senseless choice that changed my life forever.

I am grateful for the healing and recovery that has taken place over the past five years; healing that is miraculous; healing that has enabled me to live life -- I have had more life left to live.

I am still on disability and not working at a job at this time, but progress has been made. I am riding a bicycle again, I began the work to get back on a bike again while still living in California. 

In February of this year I made the decision to ride my bike in the 2013 STP, to compete in the event that I was unable to participate in 2008 due to the crash. 

To ride my bike in the STP is a tremendous opportunity in light of my life nearly ending while riding my bicycle, as someone said to me, it will be like coming full circle. Yet my recovery and healing is more than just about riding a bicycle again, it is about having the opportunity to live life to the fullest.

Why do I Walk Like MADD? Because I experienced firsthand that life can be forever altered by the senseless choice that a person makes when they choose to drink and drive.