Louis Bianco, a drunk driving victim whom I met at PowerTalk 21 conference in Los Angeles Saturday, April 21 will be in my heart forever. Despite his severe injuries from an underage drunk driving crash, Louis spoke at the conference with an impeccable smile and optimism while telling his story about the day an underage drunk girl changed his life forever. In 2009, Louis slammed face down into her SUV’s window, because she did not follow the “yield” sign before turning into the road that Louis was crossing on his bike.

The violent crash left Louis with fractures in various parts of his body, face deformation and psychological effects such as agoraphobia, anxiety and PTSD. He said the worst impact of the crash is his memory loss.

Louis did not leave a single dry eye in the room when he talked about not being able to remember his deceased mother. He has been told that he held his mother in his arms as she died of cancer, but he does not remember. He has a picture of his mom, but cannot recall the times they spent together. This is a pain he will carry with him the rest of his life. Underage drinking is responsible for his pain. And he urged parents at the PowerTalk 21 conference to help put a stop to it.

I am thankful to Louis for telling his story to make people understand the importance of MADD’s mission of preventing underage drinking.

I am grateful to Nationwide for sponsoring PowerTalk 21, which is a part of our Power of Parents program for the seventh year. Their support exemplifies their care for the youths of our country. I am also thankful to LA Galaxy, who lent us space at their Stub Hub Center to host the conference in April, which is also Alcohol Awareness Month.

Thank you to all the esteemed speakers at the conference including Loius Bianco, Pat Rillera, MADD Southern California Regional Executive Director, Dr. Robert Turrisi, Penn State Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Prevention Research Center, Candy Buckner, a parent of student athletes, Kortnee Campbell of Nationwide, the MADD Power of Parents program presenting sponsor, and Kyle Rosso from LA Galaxy.

Parents, if you haven’t already, please start talking to your kids about the severe consequences of underage drinking today.

Keep talking. Together we will create a future of No More Victims.