On Wednesday, February 11, the Broward county chapter of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) will host a kick-off party for its fifth annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale 5K on April 26. All are invited to join runners and sponsors at the “pep rally” for an evening of music, hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.
At the event, guests will learn more about the walk and the work that MADD performs as they enjoy light bites courtesy of BRIO Tuscan Grille and “mock-tails” created by La Croix. Guests will also have an opportunity to bid on specialty items at a silent auction. Entertainment will be provided by Michael “DJ 1 Tre” Marino. Former NBC anchor and longtime supporter Tony Segreto will make a guest appearance, as will the 2015 honorary chairman, Colonel Pollock of the Broward Sheriff Office.
“The kick-off and walk are upbeat events about change, empowerment and uniting a movement of people concerned about the community,” said Heather Geronemus, chair of MADD’s Broward chapter and the 5K event. “We want to bring more people to the table, to raise funds and, more importantly, to raise awareness.”
Geronemus, whose own father was killed by a drunk driver six years ago, has chaired the Fort Lauderdale walk/run since it began in 2011. In that time, the event has raised more than $400,000.
Geronemus hopes to celebrate the walk’s fifth anniversary by raising $200,000. Funds raised will be used to provide free victim support services and educational programming on the dangers of underage drinking and drinking and driving.
“Education is key. It’s about getting to as many people as possible and reaching them when they’re in the right frame of mind, not after they’ve been drinking,” Geronemus said. “It’s as simple as planning. If your plans include drinking, ask yourself, ‘What’s my safe way home?'”
A person is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes, and 28 people are killed by drunk driving crashes each day in the United States. However, of the 300,000 times that people drive drunk each year, only 4,000 are arrested.
“Drunk driving is everyone’s issue,” Geronemus said. “People have the power to make a change and everyone has the ability to save a life by making the right decision. “
Walk Like MADD is MADD’s signature fundraising event. In 2014, Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash events were hosted in 60 cities and collectively raised nearly $3 million for the organization.
MADD was founded by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. It is the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted to protecting families from drunk driving and underage drinking. The organization provides free services to victims and survivors of drunk or drugged driving, offering emotional support and guidance through a national hotline or local victim advocate. MADD serves one person every eight minutes and, in 2012 alone, assisted more than 61,000 individuals.
WHEN: Wednesday, February 11, 2015; 6 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: ArtServe; 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304; Ph. (954) 462-8190
TICKETS: Tickets are $25 per person.
For more information, call (954) 448-7880.