MADD Canada's National President Angeliki Souranis knows first-hand how important and how healing it can be to hear the stories of other victims/survivors of impaired driving, and to tell one's own story.

With many years of professional experience in the field of social work, Ms. Souranis has helped countless parents and families on their journeys of grief and healing. But nothing could prepare her for the senseless loss of her own son, Craig, in an impairment-related crash in 2008. Craig was a passenger in a van with a young, inexperienced driver who had also drank, drove much too quickly down a dirt path and lost control.

When she attended MADD Canada's National Conference for Victims of Impaired Driving for the first time, she found a supportive environment where she could share her story, hear the stories of others, and find some small measure of comfort and even hope.

"Nothing can take away our pain or the challenges we face," said Ms. Souranis. "But the support, fellowship and resources available at MADD Canada's conference offer victims and survivors some measure of comfort and reassurance as we try to adjust to our new realities."

"Stories of the Heart" is the theme for MADD Canada's 2014 National Conference for Victims of Impaired Driving being held in Toronto from April 25 to 27. Some 285 delegates from around the country are expected to attend.

With the guidance of caring professionals and peers, delegates gain comfort, hope and coping tools through sessions on a wide range of topics, including: living with injuries; parenting after the loss of a child; and understanding the criminal and civil justice systems. This year's keynote presentations include discussions of how to survive adversity and loss, and a panel of injured victims who share their experiences and discuss how they cope.

A special program of sessions and activities is also available for young victims/survivors (ages 15 to 25) of impaired driving.

The weekend is headlined by the Candlelight Vigil of Hope and Remembrance, to be held Saturday, April 26th from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. With photos and the lighting of a single candle for each victim, the ceremony offers delegates a way to pay tribute to a loved one who has been killed or acknowledge injuries caused by impaired driving.

With an average of 4 Canadians killed and 175 injured in impaired driving crashes every day, the need to offer support and services to victims/survivors is crucial. Supporting victims/survivors is MADD Canada's top priority. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across the country, MADD Canada offers: grief and bereavement support; support through the criminal justice system; assistance with victim impact statements; help with understanding victims' rights; a lending library; brochures, community referrals; and trained victim service volunteers.

Note to Media in the Greater Toronto Area:

Media are welcome to attend the Candlelight Vigil of Hope and Remembrance on April 26, 2014 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the BMO Financial Group Institute for Learning, 3550 Pharmacy Ave., Scarborough.

Source: Market Wired


Last updated on: 2014-04-25 | Link to this post