MADD


MADD

Founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. PowerTalk 21™ is the national day for parents to talk with their kids about alcohol, using the proven strategies of Power of Parents, It’s Your Influence™ to reduce the risk of underage drinking. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 10 minutes at 1-877-MADD-HELP.

Together, these programs ensure that MADD achieves its lifesaving mission.


5,000 strong for ignition interlocks

Have you heard about an "in-car breathalyzer"  that drunk driving offenders install in their vehicles that prevents drunk driving? Not some of the time – all of the time. Every time. The vehicle doesn’t move a single inch.

Ignition interlocks, as they are called, have prevented more than 1.77 million drunk driving attempts and are more effective than license suspensions. What we cannot know for sure is how many lives these devices have saved. But if the number is more than one – and we know it is – then MADD is grateful.

Will you join with us today by giving $5? We are asking 5,000 people who believe in a future of No More Victims® to step up to make it happen.

It is heartbreaking to hear stories of people who would have been spared the devastation of a crash or the loss of a loved one if the protection of ignition interlocks had just been in place sooner. Ignition interlocks grant us the ability to limit the destruction.

Last year, we achieved amazing success. Vermont passed an ignition interlock law. So did Maryland and the District of Columbia – all in one year. Today, 28 states and the District of Columbia offer the protection of interlocks for all offenders.

But that still leaves 22 states - and all the innocent people who live there - without protection from repeat offenses.

 The finish line is closer than ever before. Help us cross it?


A choice that endangers us all the time

Last weekend, like every weekend, drunk driving crashed into people’s lives.

This time, it was at a Mardi Gras parade. An alleged drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of .232 two hours after he was taken into custody plowed his truck into the crowd, injuring 28 innocent bystanders. Those who were there, but managed to escape unscathed, breathed a little easier and hugged their children a little tighter.

These horrific and completely preventable tragedies will continue to happen until the nation decides that enough is enough. Until we realize that it’s not enough to simply survive on our roadways – we must actively work to make them safer. 

What can you do to make our roads safer:

  • Organize. Join with MADD to speak up for those who have had their voices stolen by this preventable crime. Stand up for those who’ve lost the ability to stand for themselves.
  • Volunteer. It takes an army of people to do the lifesaving work that we do every day. Becoming a MADD volunteer means taking active steps to stop this scourge in your community by work with local law enforcement and educating teens. 
  • Lobby. Let your legislators know you want effective and strong laws. Tell judges that those convicted of these crimes deserve more than a slap on the wrist. 
  • Donate. Make a tax-deductible gift to help victims, educate the next generation and honor the work done on the front lines by law enforcement.

If you are a victim of the alleged drunk driving crash in New Orleans, please call Program Manager Valerie Cox at 225.926.0807 or call our national, 24/7 Victim Help Line at 877.MADD.HELP. We offer victim services and support at no charge.


YOU delivered teddy bear hugs

We must share a special "thank you" from the bottom of our hearts with everyone who took part in our February campaign focusing on children endangered by drunk driving. We shared that nearly half the children killed in crashes are riding with offenders, and, wow, did MADD supporters stand up to make a difference.

Thank you so much for giving a teddy bear hug to a child endangered by drunk driving. Your generosity means a child — potentially one riding with the offender — receives a little fuzzy, cuddly teddy bear to hug for comfort in a very scary and very adult situation.

We informed our law enforcement heroes across the country that we have nearly 250 bears to give to them for FREE, and the requests are pouring in! Police departments in Texas, Alabama, Florida and more have already said they want bears. We will begin sending out the teddy bears shortly, and we won't stop until every single bear is tucked away in a police vehicle for the next child in need. We will be sure to share pictures and vidoes of the officers with the bears with you!

But we have even more to thank you for achieving! Nearly 2,000 of you took the time to tell your legislators that we, as voters, demand stronger child endangerment laws.

Sadly, we know these laws are necessary. During the campaign, we tragically shared several news stories involving children who were riding with the alleged drunk driver.

A teddy bear may not seem like much to us, but, to a child after a crash or arrest, we know it will make the world a little less scary.

And that's an amazing gift you provided. 


Donuts Sold in Arizona in Support of MADD

Arizonans throughout the state rushed over to Dunkin Donuts on Feb. 28, 2017 to buy a MADD Donut, and support the efforts of the organization in ending drunk driving. Thank you to Dunkin Donuts, and our supporters who picked up these delicious treats at their local Dunkin Donuts store.

The success , despite bad weather, shows Arizona’s continued commitment to helping those in need. MADD CEO Debbie Weir personally witnessed and was very pleased with the community spirit shown by everyone who supported MADD by buying a MADD donut.


     
MADD and Dunkin Donuts’ combined success showcased not only their efforts to end drunk driving, but it also served as a reminder of the community support that MADD has around the country.


Through events like this, we can spread awareness about the deadly consequences of the violent and 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving, raise funds to continue MADD’s 24-hour efforts to end drunk driving and support victims of drunk driving crashes. It is because of community support that we can envision a near future of No More Victims®.


Voices of Victims: Erin Rollins

This is the first in a three-part series by Drunk Driving Victim Erin Rollins:

My entire body shook. My closest friends, family and I had waited for this day for months.

October 18, 2016 represented two years of waiting. Two years spent in-and-out of hospitals undergoing several surgeries, totaling six thus far, and hundreds of hours of physical and occupational therapy.

Everyone who had supported me hoped for a conviction and agreed the offender should go to jail. This agreement wasn’t due to unforgiveness; rather, the knowledge that forgiveness and justice are separate things.

I had forgiven her for the reckless decision that led to her driving at a BAC of twice the legal limit, traveling the wrong way on the expressway and hitting my car in a head-on collision. But I had trouble forgiving her complete lack of remorse for those two years.

I may not have physically died November 9, 2014, but I lost my life. The Erin I once knew no longer existed. My body was damaged, broken, ravaged, and sliced open several times. It left me with three long scars, one from right below my ribs to my groin area, one from the middle of my back to the tailbone and one stretching horizontally from my left rectus muscle to only a couple of inches away from the back scar.

I had lost so much—my car, job, independence and a possible love interest to name a few—with my body being the most devastating. But there was one thing that sustained me through it all: a prayer that I had prayed most of 2014.  

I prayed for my best friend and father to return to Christ, to meet my husband and to make an impact with my life.  After seven months, God answered.

On November 6, 2014, I took my little black-and-white Pomeranian for a walk, and asked God once again what it would take for the things I had prayed for to happen. This time, I heard God speak to me as if he was standing right next to me. He shared with me that something tragic needed to happen.

There I stood surprised, but without fear. So I made a request.

“OK, God, do whatever you need to do, just don’t take my life.”

On November 9, 2014, my life changed forever.

At approximately 1:29 am, the same drunk driver that I faced today struck me head-on.

I truly believe that had I not asked God to spare my life, I wouldn’t have made it.
On impact, my spine shattered. I sustained two burst fractures at L5 and S4, rendering me paralyzed—I couldn’t feel or move anything below the waist. I also suffered tremendous injury internally leading to holes in my bowels, colon and small intestine; a severed iliac artery, lacerated liver, fractured sternum, three broken ribs, and a concussion. My right foot broke in three different places, and the seatbelt tore my left rectus muscle in half.

The paramedics, state trooper and hospital staff told me repeatedly that I was lucky to be alive.

The surgeons explained that I needed two emergency surgeries and they needed to decide which to do first: repair the holes to my organs that would cause sepsis and kill me, or decompress my spine to prevent complete and permanent paralysis.  Needless-to-say, they chose to repair my organs first.
 
The next day, the surgeons wanted to conduct an 8-12 hour spinal fusion.  My family wasn’t comfortable with the pace they wanted to move because of how critical of a condition I was in.  I was subsequently transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital two days later.  There, they fused my spine, inserted two titanium rods and 10 screws, and removed as many shards of bone as possible that had taken residence in my spinal canal. The neurosurgeons said there was more damage than they anticipated, and they weren’t sure if I would ever walk again.

The third emergency surgery became necessary because the first one to repair holes in my intestines failed, and I became septic.  The surgeons said had they not caught it in time, I would’ve died hours later.

I spent six more weeks in inpatient rehab learning to sit-up, catheterize myself, clean and change the colostomy that was formed during my sepsis surgery, and walk using a walker, while suspended in a harness that hung from the ceiling.

By discharge from rehab, I had survived the most difficult part of my life thus far, but I couldn’t have imagined the task of learning how to live once more with a completely different body and set of circumstances, as well as the emotional task of processing such profound trauma.  

Additionally, for the first year and a half afterwards, I was too weak to attend court dates for the criminal case against the drunk driver who almost took my life.  When it finally came time to read my victim impact statement in court almost two years post crash, I could never have anticipated what it would be like to face my offender, and the lesson I would learn on forgiveness that day.

Erin's story is also featured in Chicago Now.


Provide a child some teddy bear magic


Will you help MADD deliver a little teddy bear magic?

You see, drunk driving crashes are some of the most traumatic events you can experience – and that’s as an adult. For children, it is even more overwhelming and traumatizing.

And, until we reach a future of No More Victims®, we are going to do something to change that.

When you give $35 to MADD, we will send a law enforcement officers teddy bears they can share with these innocent victims. Roughly half of the children killed in drunk driving crashes are riding with the offender. That's right. It's mom, dad or the adult responsible for the safety who is endangering them. Imagine feeling so alone and terrified - and what it would mean to receive a teddy bear in that moment.

That’s it. It’s that simple. Donate some teddy bear magic today.


Walk Like MADD training

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.


How can YOU give a bear hug?

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.


Quiz: The dangers of drunk driving


Give the gift of a hug

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.


January "Adopt" an Advocate campaign a success thanks to supporters

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®.


Why We Walk: Omar Carrion

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.


Voices of Victims: Damion Henderson

On August 14, 1997, I was able to witness the birth of my nephew, Damion Michael Henderson.

For the next 16 years, 6 months and 23 days, I watched him grow from an infant into a young man. He was a loving, caring person who dreamed of going to college and playing professional football.
Damion was like most other little boys. As a toddler he liked Blues Clues, then Pokémon cards (because his older brother liked them) and Spiderman.

I watched as he started school, graduated from Kindergarten, made new friends and turned into a “social butterfly”. I remember when was so excited when learned to read.

He was so thoughtful, if he was going to get a treat, he’d want one for his brothers too. He was just a down to earth kid who took life one day at a time. He was a friend to everyone he met.

One of the last Instagram selfies Damion took said “Dewey’s Pizza, then Gameworks. Amazing Day ahead”. Little did he know that on the way home from that outing his life would come to an abrupt end. That amazing day turned into a tragedy that we are all suffering with. The adult who had been entrusted to keep the kids safe (a friend’s father) decided to drink while on the outing with the boys (his son, Damion and another friend).

He then drove at rates in excess of 100 mph, losing control of the vehicle. Damion was ejected from the vehicle, dying a short time later as his two friends watched.   The father tried to get rid of evidence, even stepping over Damion as he lay there dying. Our children deserve better than this.

Our family has not been the same since this tragedy. Holidays and birthdays are not the same. We now have to “visit” Damion at a gravesite. The High School Graduation that Damion would have attended in 2016 was a sorrowful event for us. His school placed a Graduation cap, gown and flowers on an empty seat where Damion would have sat. The school band played a song in tribute to him.

Not only did this affect our family, but the driver’s family, the other friend who witnessed this along with the many other people who stopped to help at the crash scene as well as all of the many friends Damion had.

Our hearts go out to everyone who has endured the tragedy of losing someone to the senseless act of drunk or drugged driving and our hope is to end these tragedies. Kids shouldn’t have to worry that the person taking them for a ride may end up killing or hurting them. 


Why "adopt" Laura?

I listen to people who feel unheard. I stand with victims who too often realize that it’s called the “criminal” justice system, not the "victim" justice system.

But, mostly, I simply help victims realize they aren’t alone.

That’s what I did for Judy, whose daughter was killed by Dylan Meyers, a repeat offender who blatantly laughed off the court’s slap on the wrist. As we sat in court together, Judy said, “Just the fact that you are sitting here next to me tells me I don’t have to do this by myself.”

Judy isn’t alone.

This year, we are aiming to activate 51,000 new and previous supporters, and we hope you will join us. If you do, I’ll send you quarterly email updates letting you know how your gift is making a real difference in victims’ lives. summary-3.png

Between more than 10,000 killed and 295,000 injured in drunk and drugged driving crashes, there are more than 305,000 victims a year in need of our help. That’s 35 people per hour.

Making a $35 membership gift today will ensure we can continue traveling to be at victims' side at court hearings and answer their calls to our 24/7 Victim Help Line.

If you have already given to the campaign through the mail, thank you so very much. Truly, I am touched by your generosity.

I am not just an advocate. I am a victim of drunk driving, too.

Sometimes, the mission to end drunk driving can seem overwhelming, but I am here to tell you with absolute certainty – we are making a difference!


Chipping away at drunk driving

What Do Chips Have to Do With Preventing Drunk Driving?

Everything! MADD, Tostitos and UBER are teaming up to remove 25,000 potential drunk drivers from the roads on Super Bowl Sunday!

If you think about it, the average adult football fan will be watching the Big Game with a chip in one hand and an alcoholic drink in the other. But how do we make sure everyone gets home safely?

Fans have a new way to “Party Safe”  thanks to Tostitos providing a safe ride home via Uber. By simply entering a Tostitos Tortilla Chips UPC code into the Uber app, fans nationwide can receive $10 off their ride on February 5th.

Regardless of what team wins the biggest football game of the year, MADD wants everyone to win by having roads free of drunk drivers. In 2015 nearly half of all traffic fatalities were caused by drunk driving on Super Bowl Sunday — compared to 28 drunk driving deaths on an “average” day. Every death an injury is 100% preventable every time!

Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans Tight End lost two of his biggest fans, his aunt Peaches and uncle Bryan, who were killed by a drunk driver on their way home after watching him play in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. Following this tragedy, Delanie partnered with MADD to help people stay safe on the roads during football season and all year round.

“Having a good time and being safe go hand in hand," says Delanie, a MADD volunteer. “Losing the Super Bowl is nothing compared to the real heartbreaking loss I suffered that night.”

That’s why MADD and Delanie are asking everyone to:
•    Plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver if your plans include alcohol.
•    Take the MADD pledge to Party Safe on Super Bowl Sunday.
•    Check out how to get $10 off your Uber ride one Sunday, Feb. 5th (only available for use 2/5/17; while supplies last).

Everybody wins when everybody plans ahead to party safe!


Adopt an advocate. Spread hope.

I’ll never forget the strength and the courage I received from my victim advocate after my son Dustin was killed by an underage, drinking and drugged driver.

Michelle provided me with a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. Ultimately, she gave me hope that one day I would smile again during a time when everything seemed dark.

That’s why we are proud to share the 2017 membership campaign. We are asking all MADD supporters to renew their membership pledge today by “adopting” an advocate, the individual who offers emotional support and help to a victim in their time of need.

Many people may have participated in our annual January membership campaign previously, and we can't say thank you enough to these core members who make it possible fight drunk and drugged driving and underage drinking. We hope everyone will join us in 2017 as well.

We have set a goal of bringing in 51,000 members to symbolically represent the fact that someone is killed by drunk driving every 51 minutes.

And, for that, we need everyone who believes in a future of No More Victims® to speak up!

Let's meet the advocates:

 

Kristi covers nearly 80 counties in Illinois. She struggles to fund all the trips and visits needed to sit and hold a hand or attend a court hearing.

Often, she is the person walking into a person's life when everyone else is walking out.

 

 

Kimberly felt called to serve in South Carolina after her best friend Nancy, former Sen. Strom Thurmond’s daughter, was killed by a drunk driver.

She understands that she can’t bring back Nancy or any of those lost, but she can make a difference in their loved ones’ lives.

 

  Serving all of southwest Missouri, Laura acted as the voice for the victims in the Dylan Meyers case, which made headlines last year thanks to the offenders' blatant lack of remorse.

 

When you pledge support for an advocate by renewing your membership, that advocate will share quarterly updates so you can witness firsthand the difference you are making in real people's lives.

We hope you will consider helping us reach our goal of 51,000 members by adopting one of these dedicated difference makers.


Help, Hope and Healing

MADD West Texas Program Manager Vanessa Luna-Marquez has been speaking up against drunk driving – and people are hearing her!

She earned recognition from 34th Judicial District Attorney Jaime Esparza for her service to the community.

"It is with great pleasure to present you with the HELP, HOPE, HEALING, VOICE award at this year's 'A Voice Against Crime' 10-mile walk across El Paso," a letter from DA Esparza reads. "You are being recognized because you play an important role and go the extra mile in our mission to provide HELP, HOPE, HEALING and VOICE to victims of crime on their long road to recovery. You are truly an asset to our community's victims."

Vanessa said she was honored and humbled to be recognized.

"Over the years working at MADD, I have met many families whose lives have been impacted and changed when their loved one is killed or injured in a drunk driving crash," Vanessa said. "I feel blessed to be part of their lives and help take healing steps; it is an honor to keep the legacy of their loved ones alive thru my work in the community."

MADD provides a victim service at no charge every three minutes, making it one of the largest nonprofits for victims of violent crimes. It is only through the dedication of people like Vanessa that we are able to be there for so many people.


How did 2016 end?

Asking for $300,000 wasn't easy. We knew it was a lot to request from our supporters, but we also knew it was vital to help victims, advocate and support lifesaving technology.

Thousands of people stood up to demand an end to drunk driving, a 100% preventable and violent crime. Together, we raised nearly $260,000 to provide victims with a service at no charge every three minutes, to advocate for justice in our laws and courtrooms, and move lifesaving technology to the market faster.

This year, we face some challenges, but we remain dedicated to moving from more than 10,000 victims a year to No More Victims®.

And thanks to you, we have the ability to do so.

We asked people to share why they donate to MADD. Here are just a few reasons people shared:

 

"My son was hit by a drunk driver, and it was the driver's third offense. Fortunately, my son lived, but it was an emotional experience I will never forget. I pray people will think before they drink." – Sherma Jones

 "Our donation is made in honor of our precious grandchildren, Ryan and Kaitlyn Jahn, and their sweet momma, Mandy Jahn, who were all killed by a drunk driver on November 6, 2008. Yet, even in their absence, Mandy, Ryan, and Kaitlyn's story continues to touch hearts, change   lives, and prayerfully be instrumental in ending this preventable crime once and for all."– Karen and Ed Jahn

 "We're donating to help make our road safer; a drunk driver killed our daughter on 12/22/2007. We just want to bring awareness to our society that nothing more devastating than seeing your own kid passed before us."– Tguyen

These are just a few of the responses we received. Many are from victims or survivors. Others come from people who KNOW there is a solution to this epidemic.

And with your help, we will get there.

Thank you for your generosity.

"We're donating to help make our road safer; a drunk driver killed our daughter on 12/22/2007. We just want to bring awareness to our society that nothing more devastating than seeing your own kid passed before us."– Tguyen




Voices of Victims: Kristi Hosea

“I’m not a victim,” I told myself the first time an email regarding a job working as a victim advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving showed up in my inbox.

“I’m not a mother,” I told myself the second time.

The third time? I became the person who walks into a person’s life when everyone else walks out.

Nine months later, I became a drunk driving victim, and I knew I had to fight harder.

A year later, I became a mother, and I felt called to make the world a better place, a safer place for my child.

Today, nine years later as a victim advocate who covers nearly 80 counties in Illinois, my job can mean explaining the lengthy court process, working with a food pantry to deliver a meal or simply holding a hand to bring comfort.

Often, I struggle to secure travel funds to attend court hearing. It always breaks my heart to turn down a request.

That’s why we are asking you today to proudly declare yourself a MADD member. MADD aims to have 51,000 members this year to symbolically represent the fact that someone dies from drunk driving every 51 minutes.

Your gift will allow me to better serve victims and reduce drunk and drugged driving in Illinois and across the country.

Throughout the year, I’ll send you updates to let you know how your gift is being used, how it has touched lives and how it is making the world a better place.

I believe in what I am doing. I hope you do too.


UPDATE: Annie's Law signed by Gov.

When someone you love is killed by a drunk driver, all you have left are memories.

Your future can be reduced to despair or it can be propelled into advocacy that helps save the lives of others.

I watched the latter played out in the lives of the Rooney family in Ohio.  A drunk driver killed 36-year-old Annie Rooney, an advocate and attorney, July 4th, 2013. Annie, an avid mountain biker who was looking for a sponsor to continue excelling at the sport, was driving home after picking up a bike at a friend’s house. The offender was going 100 miles per hour, resulting in several people calling into the police to report her erratic driving. An off-duty officer also pursued her because he witnessed her driving at dusk with no lights on through a school zone. READ MORE ABOUT ANNIE.

The driver was more than twice the legal limit and had been previously arrested for drunk driving three times. 

In the midst of their mourning, Annie’s family began a mission… to have the state of Ohio improve the ignition interlock for all drunk drivers.  Throughout the process of developing the law, the Rooney’s never missed a hearing. Annie, who had worked diligently as a prosecuting attorney on domestic violence and DUI cases, deserved a law in her name… Annie’s law.

For a while, it looked like the clock would expire for Annie's Law. Her family, including MADD National Boardmember Walt Rooney, went on Facebook Live with a plea. WATCH IT NOW. We rallied support and conducted a full-court press.

Finally, on December 6th, the bill was passed.  It was unanimous.  I had the privilege of being there at the State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio as the vote came in and watch the tears flow down the faces of the family.

Annie would live on in this law, “Annie’s Law”. And over the years, while the pain and suffering will continue for the family, the state of Ohio will reap the benefits of their dedication.

Today, January 4th, 2016, Governor John Kaisch signed Annie's Law.

Lives will be saved thanks to them.  And someday, all of us will be able to live in a world with NO MORE VICTIMS®.