It was a Friday night in August. School was starting again soon and this was the last major party of the summer. It was going to be great – a real celebration of the season
How quickly things can change. How quickly the perfect summer evening can go from celebration to devastation when someone chooses to drive impaired.
Nicholas Antonelli, age 17, was walking home from the party when he was hit by an impaired driver – another guest from the party. Nicholas’s brother, Pietro started CPR, but it was too late. Helplessly, Pietro watched his younger brother take his last breaths.
“When I went to see Nicholas at the hospital he was covered but I could see his face,” recalls Nicholas’s dad, Denis. “I could see the dent. Blood was still trickling from his ears. I wanted to take him in my arms. A few hours before, my son was a beautiful young man.”
It’s such a tragic story and I wish with all my heart I didn’t have to share it with you today. After all, summer is finally here and we’d all rather be thinking about long lazy days at the cottage or beach, summer vacations and family barbeques.
But, the risk of impaired driving is traditionally higher during the summer months and on long weekends. We need your support to make sure this is a season of celebration NOT devastation for you, your loved ones and all Canadians.
Your gift of whatever you can manage will help us continue our vital work to keep Canadians, including your friends and family, safe from impaired drivers. It will help prevent more heartbreaking devastation this summer and every day of the year.
As you can imagine, the tragic loss of Nicholas is like a nightmare the Antonelli family can’t wake up from. “It’s like we’ve been given a life sentence,” says Denis.
But, thanks to donor support , Denis and his family have found comfort through our Victim/Survivor Support Services. “MADD Canada has been there for us from day one with sensitivity and expertise,” Denis says.
Every year, over 20,000 victims and survivors turn to our Victim Support Services for information, understanding and hope. Your commitment is how we are able to take their calls and provide the resources they desperately need. And that’s just the beginning…
With your support we can continue to bring our powerful School Assembly Program into hundreds of schools, educating approximately one million students to make the right choices at the summer parties they attend. And we’ll build awareness about impaired driving and boating at a busy time on our roads and waterways, through Campaign 911.
Summer in Canada is a happy time – a season of celebration. But for some people, the “celebrating” can go too far. “Summer is short and we want to have fun. So we drink. We party,” says Denis. “We let our guard down in the summer and we can’t afford to do that.”
I couldn’t agree more. And today, we need your help to protect our roads and waterways from impaired driving and spare others from the agonizing pain Denis lives with every day. Together, we can go so much further to make this a summer of celebration not devastation for those you love and all Canadians.