|Courtesy of Donna Cummings Photography|
On June 18, 2002, Patti Foster and three other women were driving to their final Bible study of the summer. After the car she was traveling in came to a stop at a red light, Patti took off her seatbelt to check on the flowers that she was bringing everyone in the Bible study. At that moment, a drugged driver traveling at 70 miles per hour slammed into the back of their vehicle. The impact hurled Patti out of the car about three stories away until her body stopped in a lane of traffic.
Bystanders began to pray around her before a helicopter transported her to the Trauma ICU. Despite the all-night from the trauma team, Patti remained in a coma.
“If she does live, she’ll be a persistent vegetable,” the doctors told her family.
Six weeks later, Patti slowly began to wake up from her coma, but had many battles ahead of her. “When I began waking up, I had to re-learn every single basic function,” Patti said. “I couldn’t do anything on my own.” She credits her strength during this recovery process to the outpour of support from family and friends, and her steadfast faith.
Now, she is a motivational speaker as well as published in four books, in addition to her autobiography, entitled Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury. Most recently, her story was selected to be featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Patti began writing after the crash as a way to continue healing. “Instead of becoming bitter, I’ve chosen to let it make me better and help others,” she says.
Patti’s story and positive outlook on life continues to inspire others around the world. “We don’t know how many moments we have left,” she says, “but while we have this moment may we choose to live it to the fullest.”
Patti volunteers with MADD East Texas and shares her story at Victim Impact Panels, school assemblies and other MADD presentations to help prevent others from experiencing the life-altering aftermath of a drunk or drugged driving crash that she had to endure.
Learn more about Patti on her website, www.pattifoster.com.
On October 10, 2013, 23-year-old Eric Fischer and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Andrea Herrera, left the restaurant where they were watching a Tigers game to take care of their newly adopted puppy, Otis. On their way to Eric’s house, a drunk and drugged driver ran a red light and hit the car Eric and Andrea were driving in, pushing them into the path of a semi-truck. Both Eric and Andrea were killed.
Eric and Andrea met earlier that year at a local steakhouse where they were both working, and were inseparable. Eric was known as an easy going guy with a big heart and an even bigger smile. He got along with everyone. Andrea was funny and very creative, with an eye and a talent for turning simple things into something beautiful through a photo or painting.
Both Andrea and Eric were going to school, Eric for marketing, and Andrea for graphic design before their lives were tragically cut short by someone’s choice to drink and drive.
After the crash, the Prosecutor connected Eric and Andrea’s families with MADD Michigan. MADD Victim Advocate, Stephanie Hurst, helped prepare the families for the court process, accompanied them to the trial and offered a shoulder to lean on during the incredibly difficult time.
The drunk driver, who had a history of alcohol-related offenses, was sentenced to between 12-and-a-half and 30 years in prison.
With the trial behind them, Eric and Andrea’s families remain dedicated to making sure that this doesn’t happen to another family. They participated in this year’s Walk Like MADD event in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 13th, raising $5,315 to put an end to this 100 percent preventable crime once and for all.