A growing number of people are wearing plastic purple bracelets with a message that pertains to one of Williams Lake’s own.
On one side of the bracelet is the name of Rayel MacDonald, the 20-year-old nursing student hit by a truck and killed last April in Williams Lake.
The other side says, “I Promise Mom.”
The bracelets are produced through Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (M.A.D.D.) and are a reminder not to drink and drive.
MacDonald and a friend were hit by a pick-up truck at around 2 a.m. while crossing Carson Drive with a group of friends after attending the Indoor Rodeo Dance on April 22.
Martin William Michael Gentles, 27, was charged with impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm.
The charges were stayed in provincial court on June 27, for the police to gather more expert reports to bring the case back for the Crown to look at again.
Soon after the accident, a friend of MacDonald’s, Trina Snodgrass, saw the bracelets on the M.A.D.D. website.
Snodgrass mentioned the bracelets to the MacDonald family, they ordered 300 in July, and all were sold within three weeks.
This time M.A.D.D. Williams Lake has ordered another 300.
“Already we’re on a roll selling them out again,” MacDonald’s mother Andrea said, adding her daughter was often the designated driver for her friends.
The ironic thing is that the week before she died, MacDonald tweeted “being a really good drunk driver is not something to brag about.”
Six months after MacDonald’s death, her family continues to grapple with their loss, yet Andrea said everyone, even strangers, has been overwhelmingly supportive.
At the 54th Annual Williams Lake & District 4H Show and Sale, Olivia, the youngest MacDonald daughter, showed and auctioned a pig.
“Her uncle wanted to buy the pig, and then we were going to get the pig back and sell raffle tickets to raise money for the Memory Garden where the accident happened below Williams Lake Secondary School,” Andrea said.
Auctioneer Wilf Smith decided they should sell the pig again instead.
“By this time, it’s the end of the week of 4H and we’re all exhausted. I’ve known Wilf a long time and said ‘OK, that sounds like a good idea’,” Andrea recalled.
Olivia sold the pig for $3,800, a sum her mom described as normally unheard of at the auction.
Then Peterson Contracting, the purchasers, donated it back at the end of the evening.
The place was packed, the crowd was geared up, the auctioneers were going crazy, and the pig sold again to PMT Chartered Accountants.
“All the money is going to the memorial site near the community garden. We’re going to buy some benches, and there’s going to be a garden and a monument,” Andrea said.
The community garden took us in to be a part of it all,” Andrea explained.
In Big Lake, at the family home, friends have helped build a beautiful garden there.
Andrea says, it all really helps.
“As dark and as sad as this is for us, the kindness has brought so much comfort and warmth to our hearts and souls.”
Pam Herman, the president of the M.A.D.D. Williams Lake chapter, noted the bracelets are available at Excelsior Jewellers Ltd. on Second Avenue, Red Dogs on First Avenue, and at Tory Kier Ltd. on Oliver Street.
Proceeds from the sale will go toward something in MacDonald’s honour in the M.A.D.D. garden in Boitanio Park.
“We’re also hoping to send the family to a national candle light vigil conference in Toronto at the end of April, and will be putting the money toward that,” Herman said.
People can also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org to buy bracelets.
Or if they would like to volunteer for the organization, they can phone 250-267-2809.