An intense silence fell over the packed gym at Holy Trinity High School in Bradford when Christie Ward began to speak.
Ward lost her daughter Kirsta-Lynne Sandy to an impaired driver in 2008.
"She was and forever will be 18. She was loved by all her family and friends. She'll never be married. She'll never be a mother, grandmother. No graduation from college," said the heartbroken mother.
"What I want to share with you is something no one should have to go through at the hands of someone who made a selfish choice of something that was 100 percent preventable," she said.
"It started with a phone call. Kirsta is dead. I didn't believe it. I screamed, I yelled. I cried. Krista's body was at the hospital awaiting an autopsy. The nurses brought me in a room. My daughter's body was half zipped in black body bag on a metal table. Her body was so cold. Her hair was full of twigs and dirt. I desperately wanted her to open her eyes."
Ward was a guest speaker at the kick off of the 2017 Festive R.I.D.E program and the Mothers Against Drunk
Driving (MADD) Project Red Ribbon Campaign launch.
The event was hosted by South Simcoe Police and attended by County of Simcoe Paramedics along with a wide range of police services including Barrie, the OPP, Midland, York Regional Police, Rama and Military Police from CFB Borden.
On average, 4 people are killed each day in crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs.
"I would honestly like to stand here today and tell you our R.I.D.E programs are working but sadly impaired driving continues to be the leading criminal cause of death in Canada," said South Simcoe Police Chief Andrew Fletcher.
"I beg all of you to please not let this happen to anyone again," said Ward.