MADD Georgia Celebrates 2018 Success
Atlanta, GA – On October 24, 2018, MADD staff, volunteers, and sponsors gathered to celebrate the success of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K/Walk Like MADD at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Gathered at the Harrah’s Cherokee River Valley Club inside of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, over 50 people were present to share in MADD’s mission to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and to prevent underage drinking.
Leading up to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K/Walk Like MADD on September 15th, thousands heard MADD’s mission and learned about the opportunity to get involved with MADD through participating in the race at MADD’s community activations. MADD attended the Atlanta Falcons Training Camp, Mini Camps, and Moms’ Clinics over the summer months; participated in events with sponsors Springfield Baptist Church and AAA – The Auto Club Group; and also shared MADD’s mission at MADD Georgia’s Designated Driver Program at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at Atlanta United and Atlanta Falcons events.
More than 20 MADD Georgia sponsors were honored for their support of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K/Walk Like MADD at the Celebration Luncheon, several of which also currently serve as MADD Georgia Statewide Sponsors and Partners. Of the $431,005.27 raised for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K/Walk Like MADD, $267,500 of it resulted from sponsorship dollars.
At this year’s event, 6,522 people of all ages participated to make Georgia a state with No More Victims®. With 5,326 runners, 367 walkers, 130 50m dashers, and almost 700 spectators, volunteers, and personnel, each step taken and every dollar raised supported MADD’s mission to make our roads and our communities safer. There were 75 teams created by victim families and survivors, corporate sponsors, and other community partners that participated this year.
In 2017, 366 lives were lost to alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in Georgia, which accounted for 24% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities in Georgia that same year. From 2016 – 2017, the total number of alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities decreased by 4.7% in Georgia (National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Oct. 2018).*
Luncheon attendees were able to hear from MADD Georgia’s 2018 Highlighted Victim Emily Bowman. A senseless and preventable crash upended Emily’s life in 2013 when she was struck from behind as a pedestrian by a pickup truck and left on the pavement as the driver sped away. Emily was not able to speak or move and underwent brain surgery as the first step in her long, courageous journey to recovery. That path included intensive therapy, and after 14 months she spoke her first words! Through determination and hard work, Emily is now able to walk and spends her time sharing her story at MADD Victim Impact Panels, schools, and other groups. Emily delivered the Mission Moment at the Celebration Luncheon, sharing her powerful story of perseverance and hope.
State Advisory Council Members and Walk Co-Chairs Amy Sands and Angie Blank led the event program, covering the metrics and the success of the 2018 event. Since 2015, Walk Like MADD has raised over $1.3 million dollars and has had over 20,495 participants cumulatively over the years in Georgia. When surveyed, 96% of 2018’s participants stated that they would participate in the event again. In 2018, registrants self-identified in the following categories related to drunk and/or drugged driving: 89 are victims/survivors; 496 love someone impacted; and 969 know of someone impacted. Of all participants surveyed, 24% stated that have been personally affected by a drunk driver or have a family member who has been affected.
Angie Blank provided the keynote address, highlighting the 2019 Super Bowl hosted in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. She provided information about the Super Bowl Committee’s plans for Super Bowl Live – a 10-day festival with concerts, fireworks, and other activities at Centennial Olympic Park, along with the Team ATL Kickoff Rally to be held at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 28th.
She concluded her keynote address with a special and heartfelt moment for Walk Co-Chair Amy Sands to honor Amy’s commitment and efforts to move MADD’s mission forward in Georgia and across the country.
MADD Georgia concluded the event by inducting a Hall of Fame to honor efforts of MADD volunteers, Atlanta Track Club staff, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium personnel. The 2018 Inductees include Kelsey Gillespie (2017 Founding Member), Jay Holder (Atlanta Track Club), Scott Jenkins (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Chris Millman (Atlanta Falcons), Buck Rogers (MADD Georgia Sponsor and Volunteer), Debbie Slingerland (Atlanta Falcons), and Lisa Tanner (Atlanta Track Club).
MADD Georgia is grateful to the dedication of all volunteers, sponsors, and community partners that come together year after year to ensure the success of the annual Mercedes-Benz Stadium 5K/Walk Like MADD and looks forward to seeing everyone again next year!