Friday, December 15, 2017

Can You Help a Family Shattered by a Horrible Tragedy?

I got to write the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog for six days this month and donated to some wonderful causes each day. But there's a cause that, unfortunately, popped up after my Causes and Effect run was over that I need share:

The I-275 Wrong-Way Tragedy" GoFundMe campaign exists because of a horrific accident that occurred the morning of December 12th. A 59-year-old man was driving the wrong way on Interstate 275 in Canton, Michigan, that morning and slammed head-on into another car, killing Nicholas Pare, 33, and his fianceĆ©, Sharon McIntyre, 32.

Police found an open bottle of vodka in the car that was going the wrong way and say that alcohol was possibly involved in the crash.

Nicholas Pare and Sharon McIntyre were innocent victims. So are the three children they leave behind, ages 7, 13, and 15.

Authorities are waiting for toxicology tests to come back before charging the wrong-way driver (who, of course, sustained non-life-threatening injuries). Right now, they won't say if the driver was drunk or not, but you don't have to be a genius to figure out that he probably was. An open container of alcohol in the car and driving the wrong way on a freeway at 10:40am on a Tuesday morning are pretty good pieces of evidence, if you ask me.

Drunk driving sucks. Consider these statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
  • In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (29%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • Of the 1,132 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2015, 209 (16%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
  • In 2015, nearly 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That’s 1% of the 111 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
Those numbers sicken me, and until this country decides to do something drastic to combat our drunk driving problem, they will just get worse.

I don't know what the answer is. Maybe it's mandatory ignition interlock devices on all cars, like I wrote about back in 2015. Or maybe it's a zero-tolerance policy for impaired driving. Or harsher sentences for first-time offenders. Or something no one else has even thought of yet. I just know that something has to be done. Human lives depend on it.

I grew up the son of an alcoholic father, which is one reason why the subject of drunk driving gets my blood boiling. As I wrote in a post about another tragedy back in 2009:

My father was an alcoholic who had more DUIs than I could even count. On more than one occasion, he hit parked cars and all I can remember is thanking God that the cars were parked and empty. As a kid, riding in the car with my dad while he was intoxicated was a regular occurrence. I will never forget how scared I was, wondering if I was going to make it home alive, but too terrified to speak up about it. 

Whenever I hear about an incident like the one that killed Nicholas Pare and Sharon McIntyre, I think about my dad. And I'm grateful that he never physically hurt anyone as a result of his drunk driving.

Today my family made a $20.00 donation to the GoFundMe campaign for Nicholas and Sharon's family. It will help them pay for two funerals and start a fund to take care of three kids who have had their lives completely shattered, just in time for Christmas. If you have any extra money at all this holiday season, please consider making a donation, too. It doesn't have to be a large donation. Just something. Anything at all. Believe me, every little bit will help immensely.

And, as a final reminder... If you drink, please don't even think about driving. Because so often it's other people who end up suffering the greatest pain.

Below is a direct link to the GoFundMe campaign. If you donate, feel free to let me know in the comments below. It will make my heart happy to know that I was able to round up an extra donation or two for a family going through hell this holiday season.

Rest in peace, Nicholas and Sharon.

Click here to donate: I-275 Wrong-Way Tragedy" GoFundMe campaign

This family has been torn apart and the kids need your help.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Causes and Effect, 12/12/17: Help Mark Dahlem & His Family Battle Brain Cancer (YouCaring campaign)

The sixth and final post of my six-day-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:

Helping a Police Officer and His Family Battle Brain Cancer

Today, the Help Mark Dahlem & His Family Battle Brain Cancer YouCaring campaign is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family.

If you would like to make a contribution to this campaign, you can do so here:
Six down, zero to go.

Thanks again to Melinda Newman for letting me come back and have another chance to participate in this incredibly fulfilling exercise in humanity.

Peace.


Monday, December 11, 2017

Causes and Effect, 12/11/17: One Spirit

The fifth post of my six-day-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the One Spirit is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family.

If you would like to make a contribution to One Spirit, you can do so here:
Five down, one to go.

Peace.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Causes and Effect, 12/10/17: Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries

The fourth post of my six-day-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. (Thanks to a grant opportunity that quadruples all donations through December 31st, that donation will be worth $40.00!)

If you would like to make a contribution to DRMM, you can do so here:
Four down, two to go.

Peace.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Causes and Effect, 12/9/17: NAMI and Support for Tracy and Zack (GoFundMe campaign)

The the third post of my six-day-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, my family is making two donations of $10.00: One to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and one to the Support for Tracy and Zack GoFundMe campaign.

If you would like to make a contribution to NAMI, you can do so here:

The National Alliance on Mental Illness's donation page

If you would like to make a contribution to the Support for Tracy and Zack GoFundMe campaign, you can do so here:

Support for Tracy and Zack GoFundMe campaign donation page

Three down, three to go.

Peace.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Causes and Effect, 12/8/17: The Leelanau School

The second post of my six-day-long stint as writer of the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog can be found over at Tumblr. Here's the link to today's post:


Today, the Leelanau School is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to Leelanau, you can do so here:
Two down, four to go.

Peace.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Causes and Effect, 12/7/17: Michigan Humane Society

Back in December of 2015, I took over the Causes and Effect: My Year of Giving Daily blog for a month. Started by entertainment and culture journalist Melinda Newman back in 2013, the premise of the blog is simple: Donate $10.00 every day of the year to a different organization or individual that needs it, and write about your experiences daily. As she wrote in her first blog post, "The only criteria is to give the money to some outlet that needs it that day more than I do."

Writing the Causes and Effect blog for a month was one of the most fulfilling things I've ever done. So, as the blog gets ready to wrap up after a five-year run, I was thrilled to be asked back by Melinda to be in charge of the blog for six days this month.

Today is the first of those days and my post honors my late feline companion, Elliott, with a donation to the Michigan Humane Society.

Here's the link to today's post:

Today, the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) is the recipient of a $10.00 donation from my family. If you would like to make a contribution to the MHS, you can do so here:
One down, five to go.

Peace.
Rest in peace, Elliott. We miss you.