On December 2nd, 2017 Lissah Hagberg attended her first MADD Candlelight Vigil on behalf of her daughter, Challissah Millls. Challissah was killed October 9th, 2017 by an alleged drunk driver in Dillon, SC. Lissah traveled from Florence, SC so that she could honor her daughter at the memorial. When Lissah walked to the front of the room to speak her daughter’s name, she caught the attention of MADD National President, Colleen Sheehey-Church, who was the guest speaker this year. Colleen realized that Lissah was one of the newest members of the MADD family and after the ceremony ended, Colleen made sure she was able to speak with Lissah.
While the women were sharing their stories of loss, Colleen had an idea. Wherever she travels, Colleen brings a necklace with a key pendant. She presents that necklace to newer members of the MADD family who she meets along the way. Colleen wanted to gift Lissah with the necklace because her daughter’s crash was so recent.
Once Colleen retrieved the necklace, she asked that the remaining MADD staff and volunteers witness the moment. Colleen placed the necklace around Lissah’s neck and offered her support and understanding. The only favor Colleen asked in return is that Lissah gift the necklace to another parent who has recently lost a child to drunk or drugged driving, when she is ready to do so. Lissah was very humbled as the two women shared a hug.
Although Lissah did not know what to expect when she first arrived, she left with a sense of unwavering support. Support that she will need in the days and weeks to come. Perhaps one day, Lissah will be ready to pass along the key to another mom or dad and offer the same empathetic understanding.