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Why We're Here: Stacey Heizer
By MADD | September 3, 2013| 9 Comments | Filed in: Drunk Driving , Victim Services , Victim Stories , Volunteers

Stacey preparing to speak at a MADD event

Stacey Heizer just began her senior year of high school in the fall of 2000. She was an honor student, a varsity tennis player, and the girl at school that everyone wanted to be around.

But on September 1st, just days before her 17th birthday, Stacey was driving with friends when a drunk driver crossed the center lane and crashed into Stacey’s car.  Stacey was pinned, and the extreme impact from the crash lodged the orthodontic retainer she was wearing into the back of her throat.  Fortunately, one of Stacey’s friends was able to clear her airway and support Stacey until the rescue team arrived. Without this friend's lifesaving actions, the outcome likely would have been completely different for Stacey.

Emergency responders pried Stacey out of the car with the Jaws of Life, and she was HALO-flighted to the hospital where doctors prepared her family for the worst, including the possibility that she might never come out of the coma.

Stacey remained in a coma for nearly three months, but slowly she started responding. On Thanksgiving Day, she was able to say, “Mom, I love you.”

Thirteen years after the crash, Stacey is still struggling with her injuries. She has a Traumatic Brain Injury that causes double vision, balance problems, short term memory loss, tremor in her hands and trouble with concentration. She also struggles with depression due to her constant pain, as well as the frustration of not being able to live a “normal” life.

Stacey spends her days doing physical rehab, speech rehab and cognitive therapy; but when she is not working on her rehabilitation, she is volunteering with MADD. 

Stacey at press conference for TxDOT's Faces of Drunk Driving Campaign

Among her many other activities to help prevent drunk driving, Stacey has given numerous speeches and presentations with MADD over the last several years, and she recently attended the MADD’s Victim Advocate Training Institute.  She participates with TxDOT in their anti-drinking and driving campaigns and really enjoys speaking to law enforcement about their duty to keep drunk drivers off our streets.  She has been sought after by every agency in the county and has been called the highlight of DWI training programs.

Stacey is determined to find a job that she can do every day to make her life even more meaningful. But until that day comes, Stacey says she will continue to volunteer with MADD, doing speaking engagements, presentations and talking to both youth and adults about underage drinking and substance impaired driving.

Later this this month at the MADD Central Texas Law Enforcement luncheon, Stacey will be honored for her efforts to help inform and teach the officers who protect our streets.

We are so thankful to have such a wonderful volunteer like Stacey, who can have such a significant impact on others by sharing her story.  If you are interested in sharing your story, click here to contact your local office.

Stacey's car the night of the crash


   

Comments

Submitted by reta at 03:41 PM on February 1, 2014
i hear u i am 17 and now i shall think twice before driving under the influence of alcohol.stacey mus be a wonderfull woman god bless her.
Submitted by danika at 08:32 AM on November 6, 2013
those stories are sad to hear
Submitted by josynn at 09:43 AM on September 25, 2013
wow i never really understood why people made it as much of a deal then it really is. now i understand that people lifes are in danger. im doing a report on alcohol and driving under the influence is one of the subtopics and this bit of information helped a great deal.
Submitted by Nesha at 03:24 PM on September 22, 2013
I just dont get why many people are so insecure and dont even think about what they have done. when i was reading her story it made me cry because she was an innocent teen driving on the same road as some stupid Drunk driver im glad she is still living till this day. not all people die from a drunk driver but can be impacted with life threating injuries and the thought of Never getting to Live A Normal Life. All im saying is To all the drunk Drivers Out There. Think Before You drink And drive and Endanger somebodies live.
Submitted by Katryna at 08:30 AM on September 19, 2013
Stacey I am so proud of you and the progress you have continued to make. I am so proud of the fight and determination it took you to get to where you are now. Congratulations!!! Love, Victoria's big sister. :-)
Submitted by Karah at 07:59 AM on September 17, 2013
I enjoy working with Stacey every week and look forward to our next speaking engagement. It is important to continue to spread the news, thank you to the whole Heizer family.
Submitted by Corinne at 08:23 PM on September 11, 2013
I got to meet Stacey in June at a MADD event . She is amazing .lots of smiles I really enjoyed talking to her .
Submitted by Mandy at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2013
Wonderful outcome. However in Wilmington NC they are going to let a habitual driver get off AGAIN (LAROCCA citation 2013005493) They claim "lack of evidence" or "evidence not yet processed". We know the longer he waits the better the chances are of this persons case getting lost in the cracks, and he walks, or drives again.
Submitted by Mary at 07:15 PM on September 5, 2013
So sad to read this. I too was hit head on by a drunk driver exactly 10 years ago. I have never been the same either. You are very inspirational by your efforts to keep going and to speak to others...I hope at least one person hears you. Best wishes for your future.

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