Saturday November 22, 2014

Mother shares a powerful message

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Photo by Danica Lorer

Cheryl Dupuis speaks to students at MHS as she stands before the photos of the daughter she lost.

School is a place to learn about life as well as the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic.

Many of the students at Maidstone High School are part of the school’s SADD chapter. This week they recognized provincial Impaired Driving Awareness Week with their annual door decorating contest and a special presentation for all students, staff and interested members of the community.

The community stands behind the organization with the Maidstone RCMP, the local school and community council and the Maidstone Ambulance helping to sponsor the event.

Danae’s Song is described as “a life story, alcohol wrote the ending.” Sixteen-year-old Danae Dupuis lost her life in a car crash in 2000 in Saskatoon. Her boyfriend had been drinking and got behind the wheel of the car. The beautiful young woman never made it home and now her mother asks young people around the country and into the United States, “What will your mother do if you die?”

Danae’s mother, Cheryl Dupuis, has spoken to more than 120,000 students and says she is busiest during the graduation season. Her presentation is a blend of video, photographs, music and the story of her daughter in a mother’s own words. Throughout the presentation the attention of the audience was held tightly by the speaker and there were times when many sniffles were heard as Dupuis shared warm memories of life with her daughter and the pain of losing her.

Dupuis describes her presentation as different from others designed to reduce impaired driving.

“The kids say they feel that they know Danae and by the time I take her away they’ve found a friend. She was so well-rounded, everyone can relate to her in some way,” said Dupuis.

The presentation showed a young person passionate about animals, sports, music, family and her car. It told the story of the tragedy of loss but also the joy of life and loss of possibilities. Through the pain, the family donated Danae’s organs to give the gift of life to other people.

Dupuis encouraged the young people to go home and hug their parents and to keep themselves safe for their parents, siblings, friends and community as well as their own selves, dreams and futures.

Many of the young people stopped to express their gratitude to Dupuis for sharing her difficult story and others stopped to give her a hug.

“The first sign of maturity is learning from others’ mistakes,” said Dupuis hoping the young people will learn from her story.

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