Nonprofit Spotlight: MADD Awareness Month – Mothers Against Drunk Driving

If I were to be totally honest, I’ve been mad at my mom for twenty-six years; that is how long she has been dead. I have spent more of my life without her than I did with her. I don’t remember her, and I have maybe ten photos of her. I forget what her voice sounds like and I’ve long since forgotten her laugh. The few photos I do have remind me that she was beautiful but I also know she had a lot of mental health issues.  

Nitty Gritty truth 

I offered to write an article for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) because I fully support the movement. Because my mom died from drunk driving and she was the driver. I always felt if I supported the cause it would help alleviate my pain or anger. Turns out it doesn’t, instead it makes me feel like an imposter amongst those who lost a loved one from someone else’s careless choices. It’s hard to stand there and say, “my mom was a drunk driver.” I would try to make myself feel better and say “at least she didn’t kill anyone else” and I do think that would make it worse, but losing your mom is hard enough.

What does MADD do? 

I knew very little about MADD so I went to their website to learn and I instantly started to cry. There are so many ways you can help support MADD and their journey. The first would be to not drink and drive. It is never worth it. In October, there is an event called ‘Walk like MADD.’ with two walks in our area; One is in St Pete and one is in Lakeland. There is a walk coming up on March 22nd at USF. The event headline is “will you walk for those who no longer can and alongside those are learning to walk again?” Those are powerful words that shook me a little. Okay, a lot.

There are 300,000 alcohol related accidents per day and every fifty- one minutes, someone dies from an alcohol related accident. Broken down, that is seven people who will lose their lives while our children are in school.

I was able to email Larry Coggins, the Executive Director of West Central Florida Mothers Against Drunk Driving to find out ways volunteers can support the cause. Outside of Walk Like MADD, he said, “Our volunteers do many things for us throughout the year, but most importantly is speaking to offenders about what DUI has done to them.”

Mr. Coggins also said that “MADD provides law enforcement training and support to law enforcement, outreach and education to the public, and victim advocacy and support to victims. All of our services are free and we are in all 50 states”

With the holiday season coming up please know that many ride-sharing services, AAA and many taxi companies offer free rides on New Year’s Eve. If you have to think if you should be driving, even for one second, think about your children. Think about what would happen if you were in an accident and died. Or you killed someone else. No night out is worth that pain your child will feel without you. It never goes away. Trust me, I had to learn to walk again without my mother.

Brandi Eatman
Brandi Eatman was raised in Ohio before moving to Florida in 1999. She has been married for ten years and has three children. On the weekends, Brandi and her family enjoy being outside and going to all the area beaches, and they are avid college football fans. Brandi is a photographer who loves to read and spend time with friends and family and enjoys her almost daily boot camps. Her guilty pleasures are crime tv shows, tacos, too much cream and sugar in her coffee, and Ohio State football.