There are no words that can be said or written that can take away the pain.
That’s why I feel uneasy writing anything near Valentine’s Day. I realize that my words may never ease the loss that we all feel as victims of drunk drivers.
My son Dustin was killed by a drunk driver in 2004 at the age of 18.
I miss him terribly. Sometimes, I think I hear the door open, and I hear his voice filling the house. But I wake up to the realization that is was only a dream.
As the National President of MADD, I try my best to be the voice of thousands of victims… mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, families and friends whose loved ones were killed or injured by drunk drivers. I, like every other victim, will carry the burden forever. I take my job seriously and hope that I can, on this Valentine’s Day, bring some comfort to your heart, your soul and to your family.
I came across a quote by author Patti Smith. “Grief starts to become indulgent, and it doesn't serve anyone, and it's painful. But if you transform it into remembrance, then you're magnifying the person you lost and also giving something of that person to other people, so they can experience something of that person.”
I am blessed with the honor of introducing my son Dustin Church to many people. They can’t shake his hand or give him a hug. He’s not here. But they can get a glimpse of his vibrant personality. They also can peer into my world that was, is and could have been. In the words of the group Mercy Me, “I can only imagine”.
I don’t have any magic words or silver bullets… Only suggestions that have helped me. Go through this week slowly… Remember… Cry… Smile… and Share with others the dear one you lost. Do all of these with the hope and belief that one day there will be No More Victims®!
Drunk driving isn’t an adults-only issue.
Heartbreakingly, young children are often dragged into this 100 percent preventable crime by the very adults tasked with looking after their wellbeing. In fact, half of the children killed in drunk driving crashes are riding with the drunk driver.
Law enforcement officers are left to comfort and soothe these victims in an exceptionally difficult situation. So, we want to help them make it better.
We are asking people like you to donate to provide a teddy bear to law enforcement officers that they can share with children after a crash.
A small teddy bear might not seem like much, but having something soft and cuddly to squeeze in these stressful situations can do more good than you might imagine.
We will be gathering donations for bears all month long. Then, we will distribute the bears to law enforcement departments across the country.
Just imagine the comfort you can provide a child. Please consider a gift to provide a teddy bear today.
A drunk driving crash is immensely terrifying, life-altering and changes you deeply at the core level.
But can you imagine living through the trauma of impaired driving as a child? At MADD, we find the thought horrifying, especially knowing that half of the children killed by drunk driving are riding with the offender.
It makes us want to reach out to comfort each child impacted by this 100% preventable crime. But, since that’s not possible, we're asking you to donate to provide a teddy bear for law enforcement to share with a young child.
These innocent victims don’t know that mom, dad or the responsible adult is making a reckless, life-threatening decision. They don’t understand how their lives are put at risk with every passing mile. All they know is that they are scared.
This month, we will gather donations for teddy bears. Then, we will encourage law enforcement officers to request the bears you donate.
Quickly – more quickly than we would like due to the number of daily drunk driving incidents – they will get into the hands of endangered children.
Adult survivors and victims often share how painful it is to be impacted by drunk driving. The trauma is that much more intense for children, who are betrayed by the very people meant to keep them safe.
Please join us by donating to provide a bear today.
MADD wants to thank the kind and generous supporters of our January Adopt an Advocate campaign.
By making the commitment to support victim advocates like Laura, Kristi and Kimberly and countless others across the country, those donors are, ultimately, supporting victims. And we couldn't bemore grateful.
We will use these gifts to continue offering our services every three minutes to victims of drunk and drugged driving and underage drinking at no charge. And those services, tragically, are needed more than ever with more than 10,000 people killed and nearly 300,000 injured by drunk driving every year.
Throughout the year, the advocates will share insight into their struggles and successes as they put the gifts to work serving those impacted by this 100% preventable crime. They will share quarterly updates to share how donations make a real-life difference to victims and survivors in their darkest hour.
Again, thank you to everyone who supported this campaign and helped us more forward toward a future of No More Victims®.