On October 4th, 2014, Melissa Slater woke to the phone ringing at 3am.
Melissa’s 18-year-old sister, Shania had been in a serious car crash and airlifted to a trauma hospital. “They couldn’t answer my questions and that put me into panic mode. I started screaming,” Melissa recalls.
Shania had suffered a major brain injury. For nine days, Melissa and her parents kept vigil while Shania fought to survive. There were glimmers of hope and then Shania had a seizure. The family made the heartbreaking decision to take her off life support.
Melissa gave Shania one last hug and watched her sister slip away. It was October 14th â€“ another date Melissa and her family will never forget.
“Saying goodbye to my sister was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Melissa. “My family will never be the same again. One man’s decision to drive impaired devastated so many lives forever.”
As you read this story, you might feel angry, sad, even scared. You might worry that something so tragic and preventable could happen to someone you love â€“ that one day you might have a date of your own burned into your brain.
But, you may also feel hope. With a donation to MADD Canada, you become part of a national effort to stop impaired driving.
Your special gift will help us continue to work tirelessly to make our roads safer from impaired driving and spare other families from having to cope with “the date”.
As you can imagine, the days following October 14th were dark ones for Melissa. “I cried myself to sleep every night and dragged myself out of bed in the morning to look after my baby daughter. I had to go on,” recalls Melissa. “But I didn’t want to just go on. I wanted my sister remembered. I wanted to talk about her to other people.”
And so, Melissa reached out to MADD Canada. Thanks to support from people like you, we were there to listen, to offer comfort and understanding. And, when it came time for the trial, our Victim Support Volunteer gently told the family what to expect. “It was good to have someone on our side in the courtroom,” says Melissa.
November 17, 2017 is another memorable date for the Slater family. On that day, the impaired driver responsible for taking Shania’s life was sentenced to nine years in prison. It’s one of the harshest sentences of its kind in Canada and an encouraging sign that we’re making progress in the courts.
Your gift will help keep up the momentum. Together, we’ll continue to work with governments to bring about meaningful changes to impaired driving legislation.
Your support today will also help fund vital awareness programs like Project Red Ribbon and Campaign 911. And it will help us bring our powerful School Assembly Program into more schools, educating students about the perils of driving drunk or high.
MADD Canada will also use your generous donation to help families cope with a date they’d give anything to forget â€“ the horrible day they became a victim or survivor of impaired driving.
“Shania and I were like best friends and now she’s gone,” says Melissa. “She missed my girl being born. She won’t get the chance to see either of my kids grow up. I’ll always think of her when big things happen but she won’t be there.”
Today might be an ordinary day but you have the chance to make it meaningful. All it takes is your support for MADD Canada. Your gift on this date will make an impact in all the days to come â€“ helping to end impaired driving once and for all.
Chief Executive Officer