Walk Like MADD Brings Community Together to Remember Loved Ones, Inspire Change and Commit to End Drunk Driving
MADD RI Recaps its Second Annual Walk Like MADD Event and Announces its Third
Providence, RI – March 17, 2018 – Early on a breezy Saturday morning on June 3, 2017, more than 200 people bonded together in the ongoing fight against drunk driving during the 2nd Annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving Walk Like MADD event. More than $30,000 was raised last year, which was used to help support MADD’s victim services program.
Dr. Pablo Rodriguez shared his family’s personal connection with the cause. In the early morning hours of February 27, 2005, the airport shuttle van that Dr. Rodriguez and his family were traveling in, was struck head on by a drunk driver. The drunk driver was a 19-year bartender. Returning home from her shift, after taking shots all night, she entered the highway in the wrong direction and collided with the airport shuttle van. The attempts to avoid the collision by the airport shuttle van were unsuccessful. Dr. Rodriguez, his family and the van driver experienced a range of injuries. Dr. Rodriguez was in critical condition and was left with injuries that ended his surgical career. His 13-year old niece was killed instantly. His sister and brother in law, sons and nephew suffered less serious injuries. His wife, although not physically injured, was left as the only crash survivor able to make medical decision for the entire family. Dr. Rodriguez spoke passionately about the crash that changed his and his family lives forever.
Dr. Rodriguez’s parting words were a call to action. “We are here to walk like MADD, but this can’t be the only time of the year that we carry this message. We have to walk like MADD, think like MADD and act like MADD every day of our lives. We are part of a community thrust together by tragedy, but galvanized together into a movement that will save lives and will prevent other families from going through what we have. MADD is but a vehicle for our own personal activism and we can’t limit ourselves to just raising funds once a year. We must raise consciousness, awareness and the responsibility of those around us. The memory of those we honor today must become not a source of sadness, but a source of strength in our resolve to change the attitudes of those around us, to change the culture and to raise a new generation of children who do not glorify irresponsible behavior and learn to make responsible decisions. This goes beyond drinking and driving, it applies to life in general. If we commit ourselves to these principles and we save just one life in the process, we can change the course of history for many families and the world.”
“Each year, Rhode Island’s Walk Like MADD event grows bigger and better,” said event chair April Ricci. “We are thrilled and humbled by the outpouring support we get from the community for this event, which raises critical funds to help support MADD’s victim services program. This event is not just about the lives we’ve lost or the lives that have been forever changed due to a drunk driving crash, but the lives that we can save by coming together and sharing our story before tragedy occurs.”
In Rhode Island in 2016, there were 19 drunk driving fatalities (.08 BAC or higher), representing 37% of all total traffic deaths. This figure represents the same number as 2015. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on average, two in three people will be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
Event sponsors included MetLife Auto & Home, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, AAA Northeast, United Way Rhode Island, AIPSO, Blount Fine Foods, and Webster Bank.
For more information on the walk visit www.walklikemadd.org/rhodeisland
About MADD Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving was born in 1983 as a result of the advocacy of Pauline Allard, who less than a year earlier had lost her 16-year-old daughter, Denise, to the careless and preventable actions of a drunken driver. MADD Rhode Island gives victims of drunk driving in America’s smallest state a voice. The state’s chapter has been instrumental in the passage of several impaired driving and substance abuse-related legislation, including the state’s 21-year-old drinking age law and .08 blood alcohol content limit.