A Child was Killed, and Hundreds of Thousands of Lives Were Saved.
She Blossomed on Earth
She Blooms in Heaven
September 5, 1966 
May 3rd, 1980

On May 3rd, 1980, my daughter, Cari Lightner was killed by a multiple repeat offender drunk driver. Her foreshortened life now stands for something amazing. Hundreds of thousands of people have lived as a result of her death. Who knew that her death would spark a movement, a revolution really, against the way this world thinks about drinking and driving? This date will be forever etched in my mind, my life and my actions. It was the catalyst for my founding MADD - and her life and that of my family continue to inspire me as I move forward with We Save Lives. While everyone celebrates holidays like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, I celebrate my child’s life and mourn my child’s death. 
My memories of her bring both smiles and tears. Smiles when I think of my daughter, Cari on the phone with her friends giving everyone advice, imitating a teacher or classmate, swimming with her friends in our backyard pool and telling me how she was going to live with me forever because she “had it made at home.” She decided she was going to go into real estate with me (I am sure that would have changed a million times, had she lived,) and we would work together.

One of my favorite memories of her is when she had gained a few pounds and her father made an insensitive remark during one of his visits. This was after our divorce. She came to me in tears and I said, “you need to tell him.” She called her dad and asked him to come over and he did. She sat on his lap and in no uncertain terms informed him how much his comment hurt and he responded by apologizing and hugging her. I will always have that image of my big 13-year-old, sitting on her father’s lap with his arms around her. 
She was an identical twin, born 4 minutes before her sister, Serena, and she could be very bossy. I tell everyone whose loved one was killed by an impaired driver that Cari is waiting for them in the afterlife and will immediately tell them what to do.

If she were alive, she would be an activist, like me.
The tears come when I think of how short her life was on this earth and how much she is still missed and loved. We were so stunned by her death that we didn’t know anyone who could conduct her funeral. A friend of ours suggested a nondenominational minister who was wonderful. We are not of any particular faith but I had read the book The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and loved it. I asked the minister to read my favorite passage:

We Save Lives has been very fortunate for the past the past 5 years to receive an ongoing grant from the National Road Safety Foundation. That grant, along with other sponsorships and individual donations has allowed us to successfully promote our programs with only one staff and several volunteers. But due to COVID, grant and sponsorship opportunities have been greatly reduced and your support is more important than ever.  We urgently need your help. Please help us continue our work, helping you and your family and friends to stay safe.

Please give and share our Go Fund Me campaign so that others may have the chance to both learn and give. Thank you.

We depend upon contributions and sponsorships to help fund our ongoing drunk, drugged and distracted driving campaigns. These include our Drop the "A" Word petition drive, Action Alerts, Speakers Bureau, Courage to Intervene Promise, Legislative advocacy, and our Celebration of Life program, honoring victims and survivors of drunk, drugged and distracted driving and boating. If you are interested in Giving Back to your community and saving lives please consider becoming a We Save Lives sponsor. You may contact us at info@wesavelives.org.
A Message from our President

“Silence is the biggest enabler of all.”
Candace Lightner

Unfortunately, highway Safety does not have the same priority as many other issues, yet we kill approximately 40,000 people a year and injure thousands more. That does not account for the thousands of animals including our precious pets that die from motor vehicle crashes. What is really tragic is that almost all crashes are preventable.

That is why We Save Lives is so important. Our goal is to prevent more people and animals from dying and being injured every time they venture out on our highways. We save lives. We do it through education, outreach, partnerships, advocacy and sometimes we are very successful and sometimes we are not. A lot of that depends upon you and your support.

Here are just a few of the bills we are supporting on your behalf:

  • California AB3 (Fong), - curbs dangerous street racing activity and matches the penalties for exhibition of speed, or participating in sideshows, with illegal street racing.

  • California AB863 - prohibits supervising drivers from being under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both and requires them to sit in the front seat. This seems like common sense but apparently some supervising drivers are impaired when driving with teens and they are in the back seat. Not smart!

  • California SB421 (Senator Steve Bradford) - puts important safeguards in place to ensure DUI offenders cannot drink and drive while undergoing counseling and education.

  • Nevada AB Bill 10 - changes the penalty of vehicular manslaughter from a simple misdemeanor to a gross misdemeanor allowing the Justice Courts to have increased discretion in these cases. This change would provide equitable justice to the victims and their families and hold drivers who make reckless driving choices accountable.

  • Texas HB443 - adds two words ("stop and") in four places in the Texas Transportation Code. For example, “the operator of a vehicle shall stop and yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing a roadway in a crosswalk.”

  • Texas HB3325 - changes the word “accident” to “crash” within the Texas Transportation Code.

If you live in any of these states, please urge your representatives to support these bills and please share this information with others.

Thank you for all you do to keep yourself and others safe. Your safety is always our priority.

Candace Lightner
Founder, We Save Lives  

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