USA Triathlon News Blogs My Story Ending Drunk Driving...

Ending Drunk Driving One Tri At a Time

By Paige Butler | March 17, 2016, 6:32 p.m. (ET)

mom and daughterOn Sept. 6th, 2015 at 6:36 p.m., before I had a chance to talk to my mom, I received a call explaining that she had been killed in a drunk driving accident. She was riding her road bike and was only a mile from home when she was struck from behind by a drunk driver, killing her instantly. I was planning to call her that day just like I did everyday, and now I would call without an answer. When I heard that the driver who killed my mom was a drunken 28-year-old, I could hear my mom's voice in the back of my mind saying that she would never want one of her kids to get into a car after having a drink and causing such a tragedy based on a simple mistake. Come to find out, the driver who killed my mom was a multiple offender.

My mom was not just a mother to me, she was my hero and my best friend. We did everything together, and she supported me with everything I did. She had completed the full IRONMAN three times, and we had plans to complete one together once I graduate with my doctorate in 2017. We had done the Florida half IRONMAN together when I graduated from high school and being able to complete the full one together was our dream.

My mom introduced me to triathlons at a young age, and this was something we were able to share together which created a special bond between us. I always questioned why she put herself through so much pain doing the IRONMAN, and now I know why. She did it to prove nothing is impossible and the first step is to try. And that's how I feel about ending drunk driving. I want to raise awareness and fundraise to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving . MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. It also supports drunk driving victims and survivors — serving one person every eight minutes — at no charge. 

My family is just one of so many that is affected by drunk driving. I hope my story and my drive helps support this cause because my mom never gave up on me and now I will never give up fighting for innocent victims like my mom. 

The sport of triathlon created a unbreakable bond between my mom and me and has given me the strength to pursue anything. I plan to fundraise before every triathlon I participate in with the first being a half IRONMAN April 20, 2016 in Haines City, Fla. In just under 2 months, I have raised $6,350. Let's tri to end drunk driving together. #WorthEveryTri #EndDrunkDrivingWithATri 

If you would like to support Butler as she tries to end drunk driving one tri at a time, visit her GoFundMe page.

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