By LaKeitha Stephens, Jade’s mom
Jade Gabrielle Stephens was a bubbly, outgoing, cheerful little girl who always had something witty to say.
Her laugh was infectious, and she had a way of making everyone that she met feel specially loved. To know Jade was to know true joy and happiness. You couldn’t help but love our little girl.
At 9 years old, she was coming into her own, budding into a young lady whose future promised to be bright. She was so excited that she was getting ready to be in the “double digits.” Turning 10 years old was a big deal to her.
On July 19, 2014 – four days before her actual birthday on July 23 – we celebrated with friends and family at a local entertainment center.
Little did we know, this would be our last moments with Jade.
We were on our way home from her birthday party, when out of nowhere tragedy blindsided us. A drunk driver ran a stop sign and t-boned our car on the side where Jade was sitting. We, Jade’s mother, father, and brother watched as Jade took her last breaths.
It was unbelievable. We had just sung happy birthday to her an hour before.
After Jade passed, MADD was there for us. We were mad, and we wanted to be involved in raising awareness about drunk driving, and the devastation it can cause. So, we participated in our first Walk Like MADD event on October 2014, just a few months after Jade’s death. Suprisingly, we had the biggest team that year, and we were able to raise a significant amount of money in a short period of time.
It was encouraging to us to be around other families who had experienced the same loss, and to see how they were getting through it. It was like we were all one big team…one big family.
It is our goal to Walk Like MADD every year, and to raise more money, and have a bigger teams each year.
Though taken too soon, Jade touched many people‘s lives, and she leaves behind a powerful legacy. Jade’s death was not in vain. We want to continue her legacy and continue touching lives through the organizations like MADD.