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Are We There Yet?
By Jan Withers | June 30, 2014 | Filed in: National President , Victim Services , Drunk Driving

Ah, summertime... vacations. I remember my parents would take the family on a vacation every summer. Each of those excursions included a long road trip. I remember as a child thinking the time in the car was endless. My sister and I would cry, “Are we there yet?” several times a day on those journeys.

I remember similar excursions with my children, including the same universal question from the backseat. On one trip to the North Carolina coast, our youngest would utter that question and our reply was “4, maybe 5 hours.” Following that trip it became our family joke – everything would take “4, maybe 5 hours.”  Our daughter, Alisa, would love to tease her little brother with that reply, much to his chagrin.  

Maybe two summers after Alisa was killed, Joe and I felt we needed to ‘get away’ for a while.  I just knew Hawaii would provide some calm, a temporary salve on my broken heart. Hawaii was as close to heaven in my book as one could be – perfect weather, spectacular scenery, and laid back people.

You can guess what I am going to say now. I did not escape my pain; it simply went with me. I honestly had anticipated a respite from my sorrow. I was shocked to learn that I couldn’t enjoy my time away like I had hoped. The anguish was just so raw and, of course, why would I think I could keep it back home while I took a vacation from it.  I cried out, “When will I get there?!”  

In time, as life moved forward, I learned that I did, too. I am not ‘over’ my daughter’s death, but I have moved forward into a new life, with this loss part of my reality. Am I happy again? Yes. Do I miss her? Yes, every moment of my existence.

As summertime brings opportunities of relaxation, of family gatherings, and time for vacations, those of you in the early years of your grief may wonder, “Are we there yet?” I want you to know there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Your ‘there’ will be different than what you knew, but you will know when you arrive. Your new ‘there’ will bring light and smiles once again – it will just be a different ‘there’.

I like to say I am not over Alisa’s death, but I am moving forward every day in my new life, and I take her with me in my heart.  


MADD® Virgin Drinks
By MADD | June 25, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

MADD® Virgin Drinks, a full line of alcohol-free drinks, are now being sold exclusively at nearly 3,000 participating Walgreens stores across the U.S.

MADD® Virgin Drinks were conceived and developed by Hill Street Marketing Inc. to offer designated drivers and other adults an alcohol-free beverage option, while supporting Mothers Against Drunk Driving at the same time. Through a partnership with Walgreens, five percent of retail sales from MADD® Virgin Drinks will be donated to MADD for our ongoing efforts to stop drunk driving and support the victims of this completely preventable crime.

Although they are alcohol-free, MADD® Virgin Drinks will only be sold to adults 21 and older, as to not send a mixed message to those under 21.

Thank you to MADD® Virgin Drinks and Walgreens for supporting MADD’s efforts to eliminate drunk driving. For more information, visit maddvirgindrinks.com.

As people across the country make plans to celebrate the Fourth of July, MADD reminds adults to plan ahead for a non-drinking designated driver – whether on the road or on the water – if alcohol will be a part of the festivities. And we encourage party hosts to always offer alcohol-free beverages for non-drinking designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol.


Highway Safety Hero
By MADD | June 19, 2014 | Filed in: National President , Drunk Driving

MADD National President Jan Withers was honored yesterday by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) with a Highway Safety Hero award for her efforts to eliminate drunk driving. The award was given to Members of Congress, federal and state leaders and citizen activists who have advanced safety initiatives.

In addition to the Highway Safety Hero Awards, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety announced a new award, the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg Highway Safety Leadership Award, to honor the former New Jersey Senator’s legislative legacy in advancing highway safety laws.

The list of those honored by Advocates at yesterday’s event, including Senator Sherrod Brown, Congressman Ted Poe and Congressman John Lewis, was truly distinguished. 

MADD values our partners, like Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and we look forward to working with them to eliminate drunk driving.

Congratulations Jan for this much deserved honor.


Summer 2014 MADDvocate
By MADD | June 18, 2014 | Filed in: Drugged Driving , Victim Services , Underage Drinking , Drunk Driving

The Summer issue of MADDvocate is now available. Read the latest issue of our online magazine that is helping survivors survive.


Meeting with House Transportation Appropriations Chairman
By MADD | June 16, 2014 | Filed in: Drunk Driving

Last week, in conjunction with MADD’s legislative reception on Capitol Hill, MADD National President Jan Withers led a group of national board members, all of whom are victims of drunk driving, to meet with House Transportation Appropriations Chairman Tom Latham. They met to talk about the importance of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS program. During the meeting, Jan and the other board members shared how important this project is to victims of drunk driving. “This technology represents an opportunity to eliminate drunk driving,” Withers told Chairman Latham. They also told Chairman Latham how important fully funding the DADSS project is.


Mary Klotzbach, Nina Walker, Colleen Sheehey, Chairman Tom Latham, and MADD National President Jan Withers


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