May 24, 2014 - STRIDES FOR CHANGE HONOURS VICTIMS OF IMPAIRED DRIVING

This year, MADD Parkland’s Strides for Change run will take place on Saturday, May 24 in Central Park in Spruce Grove. The run will begin at 9 a.m. sharp, in rain or shine.

This year, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Parkland will host its Strides for Change, MADD Canada’s signature five-kilometre walk/run, which will honour the memory of victims of drinking and driving, and hopefully save some lives.

Last year, 32 runners registered for the event, but 38 more unregistered participants showed up on the morning of the run. This year, 37 runners have registered so far.

MADD Parkland’s president Brenda Johnson said that, although some money is collected through donations or sponsors, the goal of the run is raise awareness, not cash.

“It’s not about raising money, because we don’t ask the runners to go out and get pledges,” Johnson said, adding that after all the expenses of last year’s run, MADD Parkland had collected about $900.

Johnson explained that, although MADD Parkland puts the funds they earn towards worthwhile initiatives and programs in the community, the point of Strides for Change is to generate recognition and respect for those affected by drinking and driving, including those who have lost their lives to it.

“It’s more of an awareness event, not one that we look to make a lot of dollars on,” she said.

“(We want) people in general to respect victims that have passed away from impaired driving, or to have people walk in memory of someone.”

Johnson, herself, has been personally impacted by impaired driving. Her son, Remy Eliesie, was killed by a drunk driver on Highway 16A between Spruce Grove, and Stony Plain on Family Day weekend 2006. He had turned 21 just three weeks earlier.

Since then, Johnson has been actively involved in MADD’s Parkland chapter, and is determined to inform the people of the area about the permanent consequences, and lasting impacts of drinking and getting behind the wheel.

“We certainly can make intelligent choices, and we have those choices available in this community,” she said.

“It’s large enough that you can call a taxi, you can prepare ahead of time, plan your ride, and have a designated driver. There are lots of choices you can make.”

Johnson added that drinking and driving is more prevalent in the tri-area than many people may realize.

“Actually, we’re probably one of the highest ratios in the country,” she said.

“Anybody can sit in docket court on a Wednesday morning in Stony Plain, and see the impaired driving charges coming through.”

Johnson said that, although the amount of instances seems to be decreasing with administrative sanctions that were established July 2012, the actual numbers won’t be available through Alberta Transportation until July of this year.

Parkland’s Strides for Change will take place at 9 a.m. on May 24 at Central Park in Spruce Grove.

Johnson said anyone is welcome to walk or run, whether or not they choose to register through the Running Room for $35, and promises a lot of fun for anyone who joins.

The event will take place in rain or shine.

Source: Stony Plain Reporter


 

Last updated on: 2014-05-25 | Link to this post