Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm MADD! So I'm out to make a difference...

Dear Family, Friends, and Readers,

As many of you know, I lost a dear childhood friend on May 15, 2006 to the hands of a drunk driver.  Justin was just shy of his 21st birthday, and was an accomplished and incredible young man.  He was a business student at the University of Colorado Denver, a Denver Public Safety Cadet (on his way to becoming a fireman), and was an avid soccer player, snowboarder, and phenomenal swimmer (might I mention that Justin and I were awarded "Rookie of the Year" trophies our first year on ACES Club swim team; impressive, right?! haha). Justin was on his way home from a softball game when his life was cut short by a drunk driver in an accident that ultimately took the lives of three people, and seriously injured another.  The crash site is marked with a sign to remember Justin and to warn every driver that passes along Hampden/HWY 285 at Federal (in Denver, CO) of the costs of driving drunk. 

No one should ever have to lose a son, a brother, or a friend at the hands of a drunk driver.  For me, the most frustrating part is that every crash and every life taken because of a drunk driver is completely, 100% avoidable.  The solution is beyond simple, and each and every one of us has the ability to erradicate this plague from our streets and our nation by making the choice not to drink, to drive sober, or to find a designated driver.  It is as simpple as that.

As a student in high school, I was a member and leader of Students Against Destructive Decisions ("SADD") (a student organization primarily devoted to helping raise awareness of the dangers of underage alcohol consumption and of drunk driving). Now, I've moved on to be a very active member of Mother's Against Drunk Driving ("MADD").  I have participated in the fundraising "Walk Like MADD" 5k walk for the past five years, and I frequently volunteer with the Lakewood and Denver Police Departments at DUI checkpoints throughout the Denver metro area. 

Raising awareness about the dangers of drunk driving is a cause that I've always believed in, but it didn't become a passion until after I lost Justin.  Now, I'm asking for your help in three ways:

1.  Be a part of the solution.  Make the choice to drive sober or find a designated driver.
2.  Help raise awareness. Start a "FADD" by making wise choices and educating your friends and families of the perils of drunk driving (get it? Fad...FADD...Friends Against Drunk Driving? I'm so clever...).
3. DONATE to the cause, if you can.  This year, on August 4, 2012 I will be walking and raising funds for 2 teams at Walk Like MADD!!  You can donate to either one - just follow the links below.  100% of donations go to MADD.  And if you are curious what your money does...well, it helps MADD and the Colorado community directly.  You can find out more here.

If you are interested and willing to donate, you can donate on my behalf to either: Team Justin OR Team DenverDA (just click on the team name and a hyperlink will take you to my homepage for that team).

Team Justin is captained by Jonni Conant, my friend Justin's mom and is composed primarily of his friends and family.  I have walked on Team Justin for the past five years.

Team Denver DA is composed primarily of the attorneys, staff, and friends of the Denver District Attorney's Office, where I am currently interning.

Thanks for your support!!

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