It was an accident that ended the lives of five young people and caused immense pain and suffering to their families, friends and communities.
On December 8, 2012 Gold Coast teenager Jordan Hayes-McGuinness’s car left the road while travelling on the m1 Motorway.
The young man’s car collided with a stationary vehicle containing five young people aged between 16 and 24.
Jordan died in the crash, along with four of the five people in the other car.
It was later discovered that Jordan was affected by alcohol and cannabis at the time of the accident.
Jordan’s Mum, Melissa McGuinness, could have been forgiven for withdrawing from the world in the aftermath of such a tragedy.
Instead, she launched a campaign to educate school students about the risks associated with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, making presentations at high schools, outlining Jordan’s story and the impacts his choices made on so many lives.
This week Ms McGuiness will bring her campaign, You Choose – Youth Road Safety, to the Northern Rivers, speaking to students at Xavier College Ballina, Byron High, and Shearwater Steiner on Friday November 29th 2019.
‘It’s more than a cautionary tale,’ Ms McGuiness said.
‘I challenge young people to imagine it’s their Mum addressing the group, speaking about them. I show them first-hand what unforgivable, multi-generational consequences look like in reality when ‘good kids from good homes’ make split second, selfish decisions.
‘Using a combination of news footage and my family’s own private videos, I seek not to lecture, but to personally demonstrate what life becomes for their brothers, sisters, Mums and Dads if they do what Jordan did. It is raw.’
The Gold Coast Mum said it was clear from the responses to her presentations that the message was getting through.
‘What started as a small experiment has grown significantly beyond what I anticipated,’ she said.
‘My presentation runs for approximately one hour and ten minutes, however, I find the students want to chat and often hug me afterwards. There is consensus that it may well save a life. I pray that’s true.’