Mothers Against Drunk Driving-Canada national president Angeliki Souranis displays a collage of victims of drunk driving during the Project Red Ribbon anti-drunk driving campaign launch on Tuesday at police headquarters. Her son Craig Watson is among the victims.

In 2008, Angeliki Souranis’ 20-year-old son Craig was killed in an alcohol-related crash.

As a tribute to him, Souranis shared her story Tuesday, Nov. 5, following the launch of the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving Red Ribbon campaign.

Souranis, now the president of MADD Canada, said Craig was a passenger in a van driven by an inexperienced young driver who had been drinking.

“He crashed the van. My son was ejected, and the van landed on him, killing him instantly,” she said. “I had always told my son about drinking and driving, and I should’ve also stressed getting into a car with an impaired driver.”

Souranis said the “profound grief” she and her family have gone through is difficult to explain. “The person that I was did not survive.”

Police, fire and EMS personnel gathered at Toronto police headquarters to kick off the campaign, which runs until Jan. 6.

As part of the initiative, volunteers will distribute millions of red ribbons to attach to vehicles, key chains, purses and backpacks as a reminder to drive sober.

“I want all of the people in our city to understand the importance of this campaign to bring greater awareness to the need to keep our roadways safe,” Police Chief Bill Blair said.

Deputy EMS Chief Cindy Nicholson said the devastation caused by drunk drivers stays with first responders.

“I certainly saw some of those awful tragedies and when you finish dealing with the patient, then you’ve got the collateral damage of the family,” she said. “It’s horrific to watch them come into the hospital and realize that their loved one is gone.”

Nicholson said she still has memories of an alcohol-related crash she responded to as a paramedic in the late 1980s that took the life of a child.

Pointing to a poster with photos of hundreds of people who have lost their lives to drunk drivers, Souranis said, “It saddens me to no end to know that our sadness is multiplied hundreds and thousands of times.”

Souranis stressed it’s a choice to drive impaired.

“It’s a choice, and you are risking not only your own life but all those around you,” she said. “MADD is not against drinking. All we want is for people to think ahead, to plan ahead.”


Source: Inside Toronto


Last updated on: 2013-11-08 | Link to this post