Carolyn Langdeau knows how it feels to lose a loved one to an impaired driver.
Langdeau was in the lobby of a San Diego hotel when her mom called with the news of her step-brother’s death in Salmon Arm. The 22-year-old had died instantly after getting behind the wheel impaired, losing control and veering into a rock bluff.
“I just dropped,” Langdeau recalled of her reaction.
Now manager of the White Rock/South Surrey BCAA office, Langdeau can’t help but be passionate about a fundraiser being held this week at all 29 BCAA offices.
The silent auction aims to raise $50,000 for the Back the Bus campaign, an initiative aimed at putting mobile blood-alcohol testing units – called Alexa’s Bus – on the road to aid police in the fight against impaired driving.
The effort is in honour of four-year-old Alexa Middelaer, who died in May 2008, after she was struck by a car while feeding a horse at the side of a Ladner road.
The woman behind the wheel, Delta resident Carol Berner, was convicted last year on impaired-driving charges and sentenced to 2½ years in connection with the tragedy. Berner is appealing the sentence.
Alexa’s mom, Laurel, is a principal at Southridge School in South Surrey. She and her husband, Michael, are working with the BCAA Road Safety Foundation and police agencies to make the bus a reality.
Langdeau said her office, at 130-2655 King George Blvd., is aiming to raise at least $1,566 through the auction (an amount calculated by dividing the $50,000 amongst the 29 sites, and based on the number of staff at each).
Items up for grabs include hockey tickets, Westjet tickets, sunglasses and braces.
The latter – valued at $7,800 – was donated by Dream Orthodontics. Bidding for that item starts at $500, Langdeau noted.
She invited Laurel Middelaer to meet her staff Friday (May 27), to bring the cause closer to home.
“It’s so much more passionate when you’ve met the person,” Langdeau explained.
“Every time you see her speak and hear the story, it just kind of endears you to it.”
The auction will wrap up Saturday (June 4), when hotdogs and hamburgers will be available by donation.
Items for the auction and cash donations for the cause will be accepted throughout the week, Langdeau added. Winning bidders will be notified by 10 a.m. June 6.
For more information on the event, or to donate an item or service for the auction, contact Langdeau at 604-205-1151 or firstname.lastname@example.org