Why We're Here: Cherry Chalker


My life changed forever one day before Valentine’s Day, four days before a trip to my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower, 11 days before a second trip to Las Vegas with my husband, and two months before my brother-in-law’s wedding.

On the afternoon of February 13, 2011, a drunk driver ran a stop sign, crashing broadside into my car, resulting in non-displaced fractures. I spent a little more than eight weeks in a neck brace 24/7.  I was both angry and terrified, yet, I also felt fortunate. I survived. I “walked” away from injuries that should have killed or paralyzed me.  I still suffer from changed sleep patterns and anxiety, and there are some activities I can no longer participate in. 

But I survived.

 The offender received a sentence of 30 days in jail, 45 days mandatory in-patient rehab and 10 years’ probation.  The sentence brought me peace. At the hearing, I told him what he had done – what he’d ripped away from me. I began the healing process.

I have since come to understand that victims of violent crimes can remain stuck in that moment of confrontation. It becomes too easy to allow that moment to consume you and define you.  But that’s just another victory for the drunk.

I realized, if I didn't want that moment to so completely define my life, I must move forward. That meant letting go of whatever negative emotions I held in.  With the support of my victim advocate, Suzette, and by attending support groups, I’ve been able to let go and move forward. I hope that by sharing my story with others, they can do the same.

-Cherry Chalker


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