June 24, 2008…..an ordinary day for most; for me it was the day that turned my world upside down and life as I knew it would never be!   I recall it being a beautiful sunny day.  Melissa, the youngest of my three children, had just gotten home from work and was excited to be going into the city to go out with some friends.  She hurriedly changed, waved goodbye and said, “I’ll see you later.”  Little did I know it would be the last time I would ever hear her voice, see her smile or feel her hugs again.

It was around 11:20 pm and the phone rang.  Expecting to hear Melissa’s voice telling me what train she was catching to come home, I picked up the phone and heard a man’s voice.  He was telling me that Melissa was hit by a car and was taken to Bellevue hospital.  I can’t even begin to describe what was going through my head.  My body was trembling, my thoughts were racing.  Was she alright?  How bad was it?  Was she in pain?  My baby girl was hurt and I had to get to her right away!

It seemed like an eternity before I got to the hospital, but when I did I found my sweet girl unconscious and on life support.  She fought for her life for 5 days, but had suffered such severe head trauma that there was no fight left in her.  Melissa passed away on June 29, 2008 at the very young age of 21.

While crossing the street in Manhattan, Melissa was killed by a drunk driver.  In an instant, all of her hopes, her dreams and aspirations were taken away from her.  All that she worked towards, gone!  She would never graduate from college….she would never marry…..she would never have children.  She was robbed of a full life because of the actions of this one person who thought nothing of getting behind the wheel drunk.

It was at that moment that I made a promise.  A “Promise to Melissa” that I would never drink and drive.  A promise to help bring awareness to the dangers of driving drunk, and a promise to help bring an end to this senseless crime.  The time is now!!  Too many lives continue to be lost because of this 100% preventable crime.

For 10 years now I have joined with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to do the same.  They have been a great support to me and others who have fallen victim to this horrible, unimaginable crime.  You can help save a life. If only one life is saved….if only one family is spared this loss, then Melissa’s death would not have been in vain.

Mary Giorgio
Melissa’s Mom