On Friday, Sept. 30, the Health Studies Students' Association will be hosting a walk in memory of Andrea Christidis — the first-year health science Western student who tragically lost her life last year in a drunk driving incident on-campus.
The goal of the walk is to raise awareness on the impact of drunk driving and to commemorate Christidis. Shannon Carmine, a third-year health science student, has been working on organizing the walk.
“Our goal is to raise awareness not to drink and drive and the effects of drinking and driving has on the community and the family. It’s not just one person it affects; it’s a ripple effect. [We] just want to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family,” Carmine said.
The HSSA conceived the idea only a week ago. Preparations then went into full swing when the Christidis family blessed the event.
The Facebook event, Andrea’s Walk, currently has roughly 400 people attending with a further 400 people interested.
“It's been overwhelming seeing all of the response … I did not imagine it reaching that many people,” Carmine said.
The HSSA will be selling ribbons Thursday and Friday in the UCC for students to purchase and pin to their bags. All proceeds will be donated to MADD in Christidis’s name.
“MADD runs a ribbon campaign from November through the holidays every year giving out ribbons for people to tie to their car keys, purse, backpack, etc. to remember to drive sober during the holiday season as it is when they see spikes in impaired driving incidents,” Carmine said.
“We have done a similar thing making red ribbons which have a blue bow around them. Blue is Andrea's favourite colour. Students can pin them to their backpacks or purses to remember to drive sober and to remember Andrea.”
The walk will be taking place at 3 p.m. on Friday. Students are asked to meet on Concrete Beach where the walk will commence. From Concrete Beach the HSSA plans to walk down UC Hill towards Gibbons Park and then back up Western road to the Health Sciences Building. The walk is expected to be roughly 45 minutes.
After the walk the HSSA will be providing snacks and refreshments followed by a flower laying memorial at Christidis’s memorial site.
Unfortunately, there is a high chance of rain for Friday. If the rain is light then the walk is scheduled to continue, however if the rain proves to be too heavy then alternative activities will be held.
Students can support the cause by either attending the event or buying ribbons from the HSSA — or doing both.
“I think it’s important that as a Western community we don’t forget about what happen and we keep raising awareness. When you move in first year, Western is your home and you need to feel safe in your home. You need to be able to walk from class and feel safe and know that you’ll arrive everywhere safe. No one should have to deal with this again,” Carmine said.
The Facebook event can be found here.