MADD honors David Weinstein and recognizes his loved ones who began our St. Louis Walk Like MADD. His story will live on. Watch the video:
We brought together volunteers and staff members from across the country for a multi-day Walk Like MADD training session.
Walk Like MADD is our signature fundraising event, and it takes place in more than 90 cities across the country. The walks and runs are a way of not only honoring and remembering those we've lost to drunk and drugged driving but, also, a way to celebrate their lives and inspire others to commit to ending drunk driving. Funds raised at Walk Like MADD events stay in the community, meaning participants are taking an active role in making THEIR streets safer.
Our largest training event yet, the training covered best practices, fundraising, a visit by Donor Drive and a celebration of what we are achieving with every step we talk to Walk Like MADD.
The first day kicked off with a mission moment from National Board Member Heather Geronemus. "Mission moments" are what we call the moments that help us understand the devastation caused by drunk driving and why we are dedicated to a future of No More Victims®.
Then, we were pleased to turn over our Facebook feed to drunk driving advocate and victim Bill DeMott out of Florida.
We thank everyone who could attend and everyone who supports Walk Like MADD. Together, we will walk to ensure #DrunkDrivingEndsHere.
Omar Carrion was a happy child who had a great relationship with his extended family.
He grew up in Miami, was always a good student and started studying at FIU as soon as he graduated from high school. He had many academic passions but settled on Asian Studies, earning his diploma in 2007.
Omar had a meaningful experience in Japan teaching English where he continued to learn and make new friends. He enjoyed a career with J. Silny and Associates as a Foreign Credential advisor, but, in 2012, Omar left his job to pursue another passion: filmmaking and screenwriting. He made a few short films, was working on several exciting projects and helped create "Phyxius Pictures."
Omar loved baseball and video games, but his joy came from his relationship with his family and close friends. He was funny, happy, optimistic and deeply loved.
All of Omar's hopes and dreams were destroyed when he was killed by a drunk and drugged driver on March 2, 2013. Omar was meeting friends at Tropical Park to play Ultimate Frisbee when life changed forever for his Mom, Hilda, his Dad, Fernando, his sister Tatiana and a group of lifelong friends.
The Carrion Family travel to Miami every year to attend Walk Like MADD/MADD Dash. There is always a team of Omar's friends who attend and fondly honor and remember Omar. Hilda, Fernando and Tatiana Walk to raise awareness about DUI in hopes that no other family will have to endure the pain and grief they have. They feel a connection to the other families who gather to honor their loved ones as well. The Carrion family and friends feel like they are part of a team, something big! They Walk because they love Omar and because maybe they can stop just one person from driving under the influence.
We look forward to seeing the Carrion Family and friends at Miami Walk Like MADD/MADD Dash and hope this special time of coming together helps them feel strengthened.
More than 22,000 people walked to ensure #DrunkDrivingEndsHere at more than 90 events nationwide, making the 2016 Walk Like MADD season the most successful yet!
Supporters raised more than $3 million to fight drunk driving. Thank you to everyone who walked or donated to Walk Like MADD.
Thanks to tireless staff and volunteer leadership, corporate partnerships and passionate Walkers and donors, well over half of the Walks reached their goal. This is vitally important because all Walk funds stay IN the community. That means, whether you Walk in Ohio, California, or Texas, you are fundraising to prevent drunk driving in your community.
There were many highlights this year, including:
- In Atlanta at the Rise Up & Run 5K Walk Like MADD event, one of our most successful events of the year, the Atlanta Falcons partnered with MADD, making it our first Walk NFL partnership.
- Down in Fort Lauderdale, the Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale is so popular it is seen as a charity of choice in the community.
- In Maine, a sister made a promise to bring a Walk to her hometown in honor of her sister, killed by a drunk driver. It took twenty years, but she made it happen! See photos from this touching event here.
- The Twin Cities Walk received a visit from National President Colleen Sheehey-Church - and captured it all on a drone video. Watch it now.
- Houston could have thrown in the towel after rain forced us to cancel part of the event - but residents came out stronger than ever for the rescheduled Walk.
- And Dallas Walk Like MADD tapped into the craze over Pokémon Go to attract Walkers to this great event.
By Lauren Harkins
A Florida victim whose brother was killed by drunk drivin
My brother Mark Evan Shepherd was a pretty incredible man.
Like any great artist, he wasn't well known until after his death. Evan was struck by lightning as a 12-year-old boy while at soccer practice. He almost died, but he walked away from that accident with severe nerve damage and short-term memory loss. Even though he was always told he would never graduate high school, with perseverance and support from our family, he was able to graduate from Northern Michigan University with a degree in graphic design. He even joined the fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi. After graduating college, he packed his things and moved to Florida to be with his family. His time was consumed with free-lancing for local politicians as well as showing his work at Art Walk once a month. He landed his first job as a graphic designer at IPartnerMedia. Evan never gave up on himself despite the many day to day challenges he faced.
The early morning of January 25th, 2015, Evan was on his way home when he was killed in a hit and run crash. The driver of the other car was leaving the liquor store. When witness’ saw the crash in the middle of the night, they knew there was nothing they could do. They stood around my brother, held hands, and prayed until help arrived.
Mark Evan Shepherd was 1 of 186 people killed in a hit and run in the state of Florida in 2015.
What happened that night was a tragedy. I was twenty-one when Evan died. I never got the chance to even say goodbye because his body was in such bad condition. Losing him was the most isolating experiences I’ve ever had. You never prepare to lose a sibling. You expect them to be there for every pivotal moment throughout your life time. I lost the man that was always there for me whenever I needed him. The silence is what I find to be the loneliest part of it all. In the light of all this darkness I’m really proud of who my brother Evan was. I was with him the day he updated his licenses to a Florida licenses. He didn’t even hesitate to become an organ donor. Two people now have the gift of sight because of Evan.
I was very fortunate to have a family with the means to support me through this tragedy. With insurance, my therapy sessions still totaled over $700 a month. When my brother's court case wrapped up and there was a sentencing, I felt really lost. I was so consumed by his case for a year and a half, I wasn't sure where to shift my focus until one day I decided to join Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and take part in Walk Like MADD.
I speak twice a month at a victim impact panel, and I share my story with people who have been charged with DUI’s. MADD provides a support system for victims to channel their grief into something positive and impactful. This non-profit is the first thing that has made me feel normal. They provide free victim advocates to help support families like mine that do not have the means to go to therapy.
My focus now is on the upcoming Southwest Florida Walk Like MADD and Dash, so I can make sure other families don't suffer this devastation. His death has even influenced me to change my degree to psychology to pursue becoming a victim advocate. Evan will be with us. We are selling shirts with his image to raise money for the Walk and help families financially cope with a death that is 100% preventable.