This blog is hard for me to write.
On August 21, 2006, a friend of mine lost her son because he wasn't wearing his seat belt. Christopher McDonough was only 17. He was a budding athlete, photographer and by 16 held the family title as Scrabble Champion. He had the ability to make a lasting impression on everyone he met, and exhibited an enthusiastic talent for everything that he did.
Christopher co-founded the International Club at Croton-Harmon High School. He was the Captain of the CHHS Varsity Lacrosse team, and promised his cross-country coach that they would win states that year. He loved movies and had just finished a summer internship for the Creative Vice President of King Features Syndicate in New York. He was so full of life and potential, but with one small decision, he was gone.
His mother wouldn't leave a parking lot without her kids clicking their seat belts. So how could this happen?
His mother told me: "I think the people that are the worst at wearing [seat belts] and also the most at risk are teenage boys. I say most at risk because they are also the group most likely to be driving too fast. Apparently they think it makes them cooler or more macho not to wear it, I don't know, but that's what I heard after I lost Chris. Christopher would be alive today if he was wearing his seat belt, that's what makes it so hard to take. I don't think that it's uncommon to hear about people that would be alive today if they were wearing their seat belts. People need to know it's a matter of life or death."
How can you read those words and not be moved to action? When it's so simple to actually attach a seat belt, why wouldn't you do it? Christopher left behind his twin sister, his older brother, loving mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, not to mention his many friends.
His passing not only affects them, but extends to people who never knew him. I will forever think about Christopher McDonough when I get into a car, as I affix my seat belt. I personally, feel naked when I don't wear my seat belt. But still, I'm having to tell friends that ride in my car to click it. Why? Is this a habit that we can get into like turning off the lights? Even if wearing a seat belt is law, it doesn't seem to make people wear them.
So today, in honor of Christopher McDonough, I'm asking people to sign up and agree that anytime you get in a car, you will make sure that everyone is wearing his/her seatbelt before the car starts moving. Consider posting this photo and spreading this petition. How many can we get to sign up?
It starts with you. Will you commit?