Message From a Friend – Mackenzie S.

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This post is from a friend of our family, Mackenzie S.   In an application for a Me to We scholarship from Free the Children and BlackBerry, Mackenzie wrote:

“Are people sent into our lives for a reason?  Are we all given a purpose?  Who I am today has been sparked from an eleven year old girl who seems to have life figured out. She taught me three things:

one – to always give back and be an inspiration,

two – to discover who I am and run with it,

three – to go for more dreams.

I want to touch the lives of those around me. I want to be the person sent into someone’s life, to be the person that motivates them. I want to have a purpose and make a difference.”

The 11-year old that Mackenzie was talking about was our daughter Gracie.  In her short life, she had a profound effect on so many people.

These are the kind of people that we are losing every day to Drunk Drivers.

I, too, want to give back by getting the laws changed for the next generation and inspire all of you to help me in doing that.  I am and will always be Gracie’s Mom but now I need to rediscover who I am, which is becoming an activist, and run with it.  My dream is that no parent will ever have to experience what my family has been forced to endure.

Sadly, I have discovered that it is a big dream.  It’s not something that I can do alone.  So I have had to learn to ask for help, which is what I’m doing now.

I am going for my dream.  Please join me in making my dream a reality.

2 Responses to Message From a Friend – Mackenzie S.

  1. How can someone such as myself who has not been directly affected by the carnage caused by drunk drivers but who is outraged by it help your cause? Our stories intersect because Gracie became an organ donor as a result of your tragic crash and I am a grateful organ recipient who is reminded that my gift of life came at a terrible cost to someone else.

    • Hi Ray. First, thank you for your support. There are a number of ways that someone can get involved if they do not know a victim/survivor of a Drunk Driver. The can tell everyone they meet about The Empty Shoes Project and give them the website. Ask each person you meet to post the website on Facebook or to spread the word. Sooner or later, you will meet someone that has lost someone to a Drunk Driver. Or you can help someone that wants to send shoes with decorating or shipping shoes. You can also visit the website for the Justice for Families Petition website –

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/xrtb87re7cith08/Families%20For%20Justice%20Petition%20.pdf

      Second, I would like to address that you have not been directly affected. We have universal healthcare in this country. Every day there are roughly 175-200 victims/survivors of drunk drivers and most will need lifelong continuing care. Guess who pays for that. Your car insurance rates reflect the Drunk Driving problem in Canada. I don’t suppose that anyone has seen their car insurance going down in the last few years, have they. Drunk Drivers cost Canadians 20-25 BILLION dollars each year. I think that it is safe to say that we are all affected by it.
      Third, yes Gracie was an organ donor. Because a very special friend of our family’s died the year before, Gracie knew about the importance of organ donation and she made sure that we knew as well. It’s ironic that both choices – to register to be an organ donor and to call a cab if you’ve had too much to drink- can save lives and take about 2 minutes to do.

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