Out of the Ashes to Fighting For A Cause

Out of the Ashes to Fighting For A Cause

By: Amanda Chen
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A few days ago, I received a call nobody should ever have to receive. It was a friend on the other line telling me that the night before, one of our childhood best friends was killed after being struck by a drunk driver. This was the friend that took dance lessons with me in elementary, gushed over boys with me in junior high, and shared biology notes with me in high school. I am devastated and still in shock – how could my beautiful friend of only 23 years old be dead?

As I read article after article about my friend’s tragic death, I came upon many infuriating facts and figures. The drunk driver that killed my friend provided two breath samples that night after the accident, both more than double the legal limit. Gillian Phillips, a spokeswoman with MADD Canada’s Edmonton Chapter, says police are finding more drivers who are testing more than double the legal limit. In seeking to find more information, I did some research, which revealed more telling and disturbing numbers: according to a report conducted in 2008 by Transport Canada, alcohol use by drivers was a factor in almost 30% of deaths from vehicle crashes during 2003-2005.

I’m trying to come to terms with my friend’s sudden death, and I will be the first to admit that it’s been hard. Since the accident occurred back home in Alberta, I have been isolated and so removed from the situation that it still seems unreal. In my helplessness, however, I remembered MADD or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. An organization that “aims to stop impaired driving and to support victims in Canada,” MADD has many volunteer opportunities available for “people concerned about safety in their area and having the desire to stop the deaths and injuries caused by impaired driving.” For me, this presents some shred of closure and a path to acceptance. Volunteering with my local MADD chapter becomes a way for me to do something in my friend’s honour and a way for me to finally find some comfort and solace in knowing that I can help prevent that dreaded call.

By Amanda Chen

Posted on March 02, 2011