The Bond of Sisters

16 years ago today, my sister Karen was killed by a drunk driver. She was only 18 years old. In years past, on this anniversary, I would often ponder what she would be doing if she were still alive – perhaps a college graduate, successful in her career in sports medicine, maybe married with kids of her own.

This year as I remember my sister I think of the bond that we shared growing up.  We were the only kids in the family and four years apart.  When we were kids I would protect her as my little sister, we would play together, and have dance parties and play “house” and “office”.



DeannaandKarenDance62284 (1)


It’s these times that I have been thinking about more and more lately.  The reason – because my girls are establishing the same sisterly bond.  My youngest (who is almost a year and a half) recently had a boo-boo and her big sister (nearly four years old) immediately ran to her side and comforted her saying “Your big sister is here.”  It was very hard to not break down and start sobbing right there.

Karen and I had our share of arguments as teens – but what siblings don’t bicker every now and then?

Deanna and Karen

It’s the bond that we were just starting to develop as adults that I also miss.  My parents had always told us “Be nice to your sister, she’s the only one you got!”  We were just starting to understand what they meant.  I now find myself saying that same thing to my girls – when one starts pulling the other’s shirt or horse-playing a little too rough.

As adults, sisters should enjoy long chats, meeting for coffee or lunch, and just having a great time together.  I can’t do any of that.  I can’t look at sister cards in the Hallmark store – it’s too hard.

It’s important that my girls realize how important their sisterly bond is.  All sisters should treasure these girls and ladies.


Because you never know when your sister will be ripped out of your life forever.

I miss you Karen – and will never forget all the smiles, laughs, and happy memories that we shared growing up.



CAID Appreciation Dinner

Crusade Against Impaired Driving is extending our appreciation to the families of local DWI victims – who so graciously agreed to allow our organization to use their loved ones’ pictures in our Holiday Billboard Campaign.
To show our gratitude, we have invited these families to join us on Thursday, March 27 for our CAID Appreciation Dinner.  This is not only an opportunity for us to say “thank you”, but it is also a chance for the families who have witnessed the tragedy of DWI first hand to meet.
All of us at CAID are very much looking forward to show our appreciation!!!
thank you

2013 Holiday Awareness Billboard Campaign

Our Third Annual Billboard Campaign is our way to raise awareness around driving while impaired and to remind people of the tragic consequences of this personal choice.  During the Holiday season we are very focused on conveying the message, Impaired Driving Kills!

Our Billboard Campaign runs from November 27th through January 4th, and illustrates six lives that have been lost as a result of impaired driving.  The billboards are on Potters Road in West Seneca and Kenmore Avenue in Kenmore.


alixAlixandria (Alix) was 18yrs old when she was killed by a drunk driver. Alix will always be remembered for her beaming smile and zest for life. She was creative, adventurous, quirky and never took herself too seriously. Alix lived life with her arms wide open, being kindness and individuality personified.



Cameron was a vibrant young man that loved to surround himself with family and friends.  He was looking forward to starting a life with his fiance’, in hopes of starting a family of his own.  He loved the great outdoors, he enjoyed walking the trails at Zoar Valley and Chestnut Ridge’s Eternal Flame.  On June 22, 2012 all his hopes and dreams came to an end.



Jocelyn was the most caring, loving, and selfless individual you could ever meet. Her genuine personality could light up a room. She faced many obstacles in the 25 years, but she was able to overcome them with diligence.  She went to church every Sunday, where she volunteered in her church nursery. She loved to bake and was just beginning to form a relationship with her new puppy all before Sunday November 11, 2012.

bryceOn May 3, 2012, 14 year old Bryce’s life was cut short by a drunk driver while riding his bike with friends. Bryce was so proud of his “Sunday Orange Soda” BMX bike. Riding with friends was his favorite things to do. Bryce was not only known for his cool orange bike, but for the laughter, smiles and friendship he brought wherever he went.


bayleeBaylee was born on April 24, 2012. She was the happiest most content baby. A true angel with the most beautiful big blue eyes. On November 27, 2012 Baylee was killed by a drunk and drugged driver. She was just 7 months old.
Deanna and Karen
Karen was one of those people with a genuine heart and was willing to give advice whenever a friend needed it. In early March of 1998, Karen was home visiting friends and family while on spring break from school. Just 24 hours later, our lives would drastically change forever, and the emptiness that would forever be left because of someone’s bad choice. For more of Karen’s story click here.


“The hope is that this year’s billboard will remind drivers of the real people whose lives were taken at the hands of impaired drivers.  Each of their families will have an empty seat at their holiday table because an impaired driver made the wrong choice and chose to drive under the influence.  In the end, it’s a choice.” -Deanna Russo, Executive Director of CAID, Inc.

For more information on the Crusade Against Impaireed Driving, please refer to our Mission Page.

Wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!