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Victims and Survivors of Impaired Driving Gather for MADD Canada’s National Conference and Candlelight Vigil

National Media Release – May 24, 2024

Oakville, Ontario – over 100 people from across the country will gather this weekend at MADD Canada’s annual National Conference for Victims and Survivors of Impaired Driving and Candlelight Vigil of Hope and Remembrance. 

MADD Canada’s National President, Tanya Hansen Pratt, remembers attending the conference for the first time after losing her mother, Beryl, in 1999. “I was really nervous when I arrived, not knowing what to expect, but I remember feeling lighter and more hopeful when I left. I was still grieving but I knew I wasn’t alone. Now, in my role as National President, I am supporting others who are attending for their first time.” 

Attendees will share experiences, gain new coping tools and make meaningful connections with others who have experienced similar loss and trauma. Keynote speakers and workshop sessions will provide support, hope and resources to help deal with the losses and injuries suffered as a result of impaired driving. Topics include myths about grief, understanding trauma after tragedy and the criminal justice system and victims’ rights. Attendees can also participate in art therapy, Indigenous drumming and chair yoga. A specialized set of sessions for youth, aged 15 to 24 addresses the challenges faced by young victims and survivors. 

“Our conference is a space where victims and survivors are safe and free to share their stories of loss and trauma, to learn from and support one another and to gain information and resources that will help them on their journeys,” said Steve Sullivan, MADD Canada’s CEO. “We cannot bring back their loved ones or heal their injuries, but delegates tell us every year that being among other victims and survivors gives them comfort and strength. Our conference is the only one if its kind in Canada.” 

The Candlelight Vigil of Hope and Remembrance is a powerful and emotional part of the conference. The Vigil gives victims and survivors a chance to honour loved ones who have been killed and acknowledge injuries sustained because of impaired driving. Photos of victims and survivors are shown, a tribute is read and a candle is lit for each victim and survivor. 

“I have attended the conference several times now and seeing my mom’s photo on the screen still hits me. I think of all the moments she was not here for. So much was taken from my family, from everyone attending the conference, because someone made the choice to drive impaired,” said Hansen Pratt.

Media are welcome to attend the Vigil but must RSVP in advance

Date: Saturday, May 25
Time: 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: BMO Financial Group Institute for Learning, 3550 Pharmacy Ave., Scarborough, ON 

MADD Canada thanks Justice Canada, Manitoba Justice, Department of Justice and Public Safety PEI, Naimark Law, Province of Nova Scotia – Civil Forfeiture Program, The Hamber Foundation, Turnbull Building Community Foundation and the many Canadians who make donations for their support of the conference.

With hundreds of Canadians killed and thousands more injured in impaired driving crashes every year, the need for support and services for victims and survivors remains one of the most important things MADD Canada does. In addition to our annual conference, we offer monthly virtual support groups, guidance through the criminal justice system and support preparing Victim Impact Statements and various tributes and memorials to honour those impacted by impaired driving. 

About MADD Canada

MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in almost 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. To learn more, visit www.madd.ca.

For further information or to RSVP for the Candlelight Vigil of Hope and Remembrance, contact:
Dawn Regan, Chief Operating Officer, MADD Canada at dregan@madd.ca or 905-330-7565.

Article source: https://madd.ca/pages/victims-and-survivors-of-impaired-driving-gather-for-madd-canadas-national-conference-and-candlelight-vigil/

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