Here in Canada, summer represents a time to be carefree, to sit back, relax, and enjoy long, hot days and pleasant evenings with family and friends.
But we also can’t afford to let our guard down on our roads and waterways. Summer has the highest number of impaired driving crashes than any other time of year.
Sadly, lives are lost from impaired driving during the summer months. And devastated families are left behind to try to make sense out of something so senseless.
On an early summer evening, 18-year-old Stanley Thomson was out celebrating with his classmates at a high school graduation party. He chose to get into a vehicle with an impaired driver. Stanley paid for that decision with his young life.
“One day Stanley was graduating from high school. The next day, we were choosing his casket,” says Stanley’s dad, Gregg. “Before Stanley died, it was impossible in my world that your child would ever leave you. Now I know it’s real. It can happen.”
But together with our supporters, we work hard all year long to stop impaired driving and support its victims and survivors.
There’s a myth that cannabis doesn’t kill but it’s not true. On the night Stanley and four of his classmates died so tragically, the teenagers weren’t drinking. But they had been smoking cannabis. Toxicology reports the young driver had cannabis in his system.
It’s a heartbreaking story and I’m sorry to share it with you during what should be a relaxing, carefree time. But the truth is â€“ impaired driving doesn’t take a vacation in the summer and, as a result, neither can MADD Canada.
With your support today, you’ll reach out to victims like Gregg during a time of crushing loss. “You always want to protect your children,” Gregg says. “The way it hits you when you lose them brings up a whole new set of emotions.”
Gregg wanted to spare other parents from the unbearable pain he suffered and made the decision to join MADD Canada as a volunteer. He’s spoken with thousands of young people about the dangers of impaired driving and takes great pride in our School Assembly Program, which your donation helps fund. “I canâ€™t think of another program that reaches the number of students that this program does,” he says.
Gregg is equally proud of MADD Canada’s Victim Services program. As he says, “Often we’re the first contact and become a trusted source of support and information. Without this program, people would be dealing with all of this by themselves.”
Of course, these vital programs are only possible because of the thoughtful support of donors. So today, I hope you’ll help us continue our important work so people across the country can enjoy everything that’s wonderful about the summer.
Your gift will help keep crucial awareness programs like Campaign 911 going strong. It will help us continue to advocate for tougher impaired driving legislation at every level of government.
Please take a moment right now to give generously to MADD Canada. As Gregg says, “Together, one step at a time, we can make our roads safer and keep our loved ones alive.”
Wishing you a safe and happy summer,
Chief Executive Officer