The last weekend in April, hubby’s two sisters traveled to Oakville, Ontario to attend MADD Canada’s 19th annual National Conference for Victims of Impaired Driving. Over 2 days, they gathered with 200 other people who have suffered loss or injury due to impaired driving, a bond no one ever wants to share and yet tens of thousands of Canadian do.
The participants attended sessions on a wide range of topics from living with injuries, parenting after the loss of a child, understanding the criminal justice system etc. There was also a special stream for younger victims, aged 25 and under.
One of the most amazing things was that the Conference centered around a Candlelight Vigil of Hope and Remembrance on the Saturday night. In a powerful ceremony, participants paid tribute to the loved ones they had lost or acknowledged the injuries caused by impaired driving with a photo, short reading and the lighting of a single candle for each victim.
Last year, hubby and the Dude attended the same conference and both said it was one of the most enlightening and supportive events they had ever attended.
Both years, the Saint John chapter of MADD Canada sponsored the Kennie family attending the conference so there was no cost to them to take part.
Sometimes people ask me what MADD Canada does for the victims other than advocate for change and create awareness. I can tell you that this conference has played a huge role in helping my family members heal from this devastating tragedy; it is an incredible place of help and support.
MADD Canada has volunteer-driven groups just like the Saint John chapter in more than 100 communities across the country, and they offer: grief and bereavement support; support through the criminal justice system (a representative of the MADD Canada Saint John chapter attended each and every court session with us); assistance with victim impact statements (they helped us write ours and showed us examples of good ones); help with understanding victims’ rights; a lending library; brochures, community referrals; and trained victim service volunteers.
I could never thank MADD Canada enough for all that they continue to do to support victims as well as create awareness and advocate for change.
How have non-profit organizations supported you in your time of need?
Two years ago, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver and my stepson’s life changed forever. In honor of Donna and Jordan Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.
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