Oakville, Ontario – A Winnipeg man who has faced the physical, emotional and financial strain of being severely injured in an impaired driving crash is funding an education bursary in the hope that he can help ease the financial stress of other victims and survivors as they attend university or college.

William Garth Hazlitt has donated $25,000 to MADD Canada and its Bursary Program to help young victims and survivors pay for post-secondary education costs. The incredibly generous donation will be used to award a $4,000 bursary annually.

MADD Canada’s Bursary Program is open to Canadian students who have been severely injured, or who have had an immediate family member (mother, father, legal guardian, sister or brother) killed or severely injured in an impairment-related crash, and who are pursuing any full-time, post-secondary educational program that is approved by a provincial Ministry of Education. Several $4,000 bursaries are awarded to qualifying students each year. The Program also awards one $8,000 Leadership Bursary in honour of Louise Joanne Twerdy, a former MADD Canada National President and staff member.

Mr. Hazlitt was travelling in the United States in 2009 when he was in a crash with an impaired driver. Trapped in the car following the impact, he called his wife to tell her he loved her and their kids. He didn’t know whether he would ever see them again.

Fractures to his sternum, ribs and forearm, and other injuries required some 40 hours of the surgery over the next 21 days. Even afterward, the effects of the injuries remained. More than a year after the crash, he had to have his leg amputated.

Knowing the emotional and financial strain he and his family faced as he endured years of recovery, Mr. Hazlitt wanted to do something to ease that strain on others who have faced similar circumstances or who have lost loved ones in an impaired driving crash.

Following a settlement of $50,000 from a civil lawsuit against the other driver in the crash, Mr. Hazlitt reached out to MADD Canada to find out how his donation could best help other victims. When the discussion turned to the Bursary Program, Mr. Hazlitt felt he had found the right avenue; he wanted to help young people reach their educational goals and decided to donate $25,000 of his settlement to give back to MADD, which had supported him in difficult times.
“In an effort to make something good come from something bad, my wife and I decided that a student bursary would be a wonderful way to help,” Mr. Hazlitt said. “These students have suffered a terrible loss and it is probably very hard for many of them, both emotionally and financially, to attend university or college. If this helps ease the financial burden a little bit, hopefully that will give them a little piece of mind and makes things just a bit easier for them.”

MADD Canada’s Bursary Program was started on the generosity of individuals like Mr. Hazlitt. Funding for the program comes from an endowment that was set up by a few caring individuals several years ago.
Mr. Hazlitt’s contribution is one of the largest donations ever received from a single individual for the Bursary Program.

“We are so incredibly grateful to Mr. Hazlitt for his generosity and compassion,” said MADD Canada Chief Operating Officer Dawn Regan. “His desire to help others is truly inspiring, and his wonderful gift will create a legacy that will help young people for years to come. Mr. Hazlitt and his family will make a powerful and lasting difference in the lives of young victims and survivors who are following their educational dreams.”

Successful applicants for the bursaries are chosen by a selection committee comprised of MADD Canada National Board members, as well as professionals and youth involved with MADD Canada. Applications are available on MADD Canada’s website at madd.ca.

For more information, contact:

Dawn Regan, MADD Canada Chief Operating Officer, 1-800-665-6233, ext. 223, or dregan@madd.ca.