It can happen to you

Most of us have heard of Jacqueline Saburido. In 1999, she survived an impaired driving crash after suffering third-degree burns over 60% of her body. The crash also took the life of two of her friends. Reggie Stephey was convicted of two counts of intoxicated manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years in prison and was fined $20,000. He was released from prison on June 24, 2008.

Jacqui was featured on the Oprah show in 2003:


I found a few other videos of her story; each as devastating and inspiring as the next. I hope you will take the time to watch and share with your loved ones.


Five year later, Jacqui focuses on her recovery.


As of 2011, Jacqui is living in her hometown of Caracas, Venezuela and has undergone over 120 surgeries. Her medical costs are upwards of $5,000,000.

What do you think of Jacqui’s story? Does her ability to forgive inspire you to forgive someone in your life? Do you think Reggie’s sentence was adequate?

Two years ago, my beautiful mother-in-law’s life was cut tragically short by an impaired driver. In honor of Donna Jean Kennie, please don’t drink and drive. Impaired driving is 100% preventable. Think about it.

Support MADD Canada and follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@maddcanada), YouTube and on the Web.

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  1. I saw Jacqui on Oprah. I was as astounded at her will to live as I am with her ability to forgive. Bless her heart.

  2. Natalie, I guess I’m one of the few who wasn’t aware of Jacqui’s story. I’m still crying after watching the Oprah interview. It’s sad, but also wonderful how she rises above it.

    Thank you so much consistently bringing these important reminders to our attention. Thank you, thank you.

  3. What a brave woman Jacqui is. I don’t know if I could be as forgiving, I would like to think I could, but I don’t know. She truly is what we think of as beautiful on the inside.

    I get that the third video is aimed at getting people to think of the repercussions of drinking and driving, but I wish they hadn’t focused so much on how it affected Reggie’s life and more on how he feels remorse for what he did.

    I’m going to remember Jacqui when I think my life is too hard and I want to have a pity party for one. Thanks for bringing her to my attention, I’d never heard of her before this.

    • I know Tameri, I felt the same way about the piece that featured Reggie. I got where they were coming from but I was surprised they didn’t focus more on how remorseful he is, the deep regret and how he’ll live with THAT forever. As he went on and on about missing out on stuff because he was in jail, I was like “at least you’ll be OUT someday – the two people you killed and Jacqui won’t be able to ever get their lives back.”
      Forgiveness isn’t always an easy thing to come to but I have no doubt, with your huge heart, that you’d get there even if it took some time.
      I am glad the story resonated with you and will bring you inspiration.

  4. I remember that Oprah episode and had as many chills watching the clip now as I did the first time around. It’s incredible what people go through… The power of the human spirit is FIERCE, right? And can make way for huge greatness and damage, depending on the choices we make. I’m a huge believer in forgiveness, ever since I witnessed a loved one forgive someone who abused her in multiple horrific ways. She showed me that forgiveness isn’t about helping another, but freeing ourselves. Thanks for this inspiring post, Natalie!

  5. Oh Natalie, this stuff just upsets me so much. It is such a loving act of kindness for you to make others aware of this. But I am such a sensitive person, yet I can only pray that I am as forgiving. Thank you Natalie. Enjoy your weekend with Hubby! 🙂

  6. I hadn’t seen the clip of Jacqui’s story before but I had read about her. I’m still wiping my eyes. I wonder if there can be a more remarkable demonstration of forgiveness than this?
    Thanks for sharing all of the very powerful information you do, Natalie. It’s so important!

    • I don’t think there is a more remarkable story of forgiveness, Patricia. She’s quite astounding and an example for all of us to live by. I am so happy that I got to share her story with my readers because I know how deeply it touched me.

  7. Appropriately titled. Thank you for sharing. We often forget how precious life is and this is a sad but powerful reminder.

    I remember seeing this episode. At the time I’d been in a depression for several years and when I heard that she only allowed herself to cry 5 minutes I day, it was a punch in my gut. If she could manage a positive attitude, so could I. 🙂

    • What an incredible story Ingrid of how one person can truly motivate and inspire us within our own lives. Wow. Like you, I try to keep her spirit of forgiveness and perseverance as a core value in my life.

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