More than 100 'Walk Like MADD' to fight drunk driving in South Williamsport
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT (WOLF) -- “Five. Five is the number of surgeries I have undergone to fix the physical damage done by the drunk driver.”
Four years ago, Kaitlin Quigley and her husband were hit by a drunk driver.
She suffered severe injuries to her spine, hip, and a concussion and ever since, she’s continued to battle PTSD.
“I planned to have a family by now. I was working on my Ph.D, and it took me a year longer to finish that than I had planned. And it was really a difficult road for my family and friends also who had to drop everything and take care of me on multiple occasions. So its just so many ways its impacted my life that I never would have predicted,” Quigley, of State College, said.
Today, Kaitlin brought some of those family members to the South Williamsport Recreation Grounds to join the first-ever Walk Like MADD event in Lycoming County.
MADD stands for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Janann Todd teaches alcohol-highway safety in Lycoming and Clinton counties. She’s also a member of MADD.
“Just donating to them didn’t seem to be quite enough for me, so I reached out to MADD probably about a year and a half, two years ago and just said specifically what can I do? I want to do more. And then they presented me with this walk in the box idea,” Todd said.
Janann, Kaitlin, and more than a hundred others set out on the South Williamsport Community Park Loop trail for about a 3-mile walk.
The trail was lined with the photos and stories of others killed or injured in drunk driving crashes in Pennsylvania.
Kaitlin stopped to read many of them.
“It made feel personally incredibly lucky to be here to be able to read those signs because as they show, there are so many people who don’t have this opportunity. And it also really made me angry to see how much of a problem this is, how many people it impacts and how many lives are lost because of it.”
“And then when they get to the end of the walk, its about commitment. Committing to the mission of MADD in ways that are meaningful to them in the next year, whether that’s coming back to the walk next year, getting involved with volunteer activities with MADD, or supporting other ways,” Malcolm Friend, Program Manager for MADD, said.
Last year, there were more than 53,000 DUI arrests statewide.
Those walking today hope to reduce that number and eventually eliminate drunk driving altogether.
Kaitlin says that support means the world.
“It makes me as a victim feel good that there are people fighting to make sure that this doesn’t happen to other people.”
Today’s walk raised more than $8200.
Next year, organizers are hoping to turn the walk into a MADD Dash to attract even more people to the event.