SUDBURY, ON--(Marketwired - November 01, 2016) - D.J. Hancock was on his way home from a hockey try-out in August 2014 when his car was hit by an impaired driver. The young man died at the scene. Today, D.J.'s family joins MADD Canada and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada to honour their loved one and to remind Canadians about the importance of always driving sober at the launch of MADD Canada's 2016 Project Red Ribbon campaign.
Project Red Ribbon runs from November 1st to January 2nd to raise awareness about the dangers of impaired driving, especially during the busy Christmas and New Year holiday season. Red ribbons are distributed to Canadians to tie on their vehicles, keychains, purses, briefcases or backpacks as a symbol of their commitment to always drive sober.
Every year in Canada, hundreds of people are killed and tens of thousands are injured in crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs. These deaths and injuries are 100% preventable.
"With D.J.'s tragic story, and the stories of so many other victims and survivors of impaired driving as our motivation, MADD Canada volunteers will be out in force this holiday season, handing out red ribbons and reminding people about the dangers and consequences of impaired driving," said MADD Canada National President Patricia Hynes-Coates, whose stepson Nicholas Coates was killed by an impaired driver in 2013.
This year's Project Red Ribbon campaign launch event is being held in conjunction with the official start of the Big Nickel Hockey Tournament in Sudbury, Ontario, as a tribute to D.J. and his love of the game. The Project Red Ribbon materials, which are being distributed across Canada, feature a photo of D.J. in his jersey and the message that "Impaired Drivers Create Penalties That Never End".
The launch event includes a number of special guests including D.J.'s mom Kim, dad Dean and sister Jaymie-Lyne; Member of Provincial Parliament for Sudbury, The Honourable Glenn Thibeault, Minister of Energy; Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger; Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen; OPP Traffic and Marine Inspector Scott Hlady; Greater Sudbury Fire and Paramedic Services Deputy Chief Aaron Archibald; Action Sudbury Chair Ron Roy; Impact 621's Corrine Williamson and Jocelyne Philippe; and Allstate Insurance Company of Canada Agency Manager Gene Myles.
"We're here today because we want to make sure that D.J.'s memory lives on and we want to do something to help prevent this terrible tragedy from happening to other families," said D.J.'s mom Kim Hancock. "It is especially fitting that we're here with the Big Nickel Tournament because hockey was so important to D.J. We want to thank the tournament organizers for all their support."
Former teammates of D.J., other members of the local hockey community and a former coach will also be in attendance.
"Our hockey community was deeply affected by D.J.'s tragic and senseless death," said Barry McCrory, a former coach of D.J. and co-chair of the Big Nickel Hockey Tournament. "We are honoured to be here today to remember and help support this important holiday awareness campaign."
Together with Title Sponsor, Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, other sponsors and many road safety and police partners around the country, MADD Canada is urging Canadians to make this holiday season free from impaired driving crashes.
- Plan ahead if you are going to be drinking or consuming drugs. Take a cab or bus, arrange a designated driver or plan to stay over.
- Never drive impaired or ride with an impaired driver.
- If you see a driver you suspect is impaired, call 911 to report it to police. The call you make could save a life.
Allstate Canada has been a sponsor of Project Red Ribbon since the campaign's inception 29 years ago.
"Allstate Canada and our agents across the country are proud to join MADD Canada once again to share the sober driving message," said Allstate Canada President and CEO Ryan Michel. "The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for Canadians but it's crucial that people take a little bit of time to plan ahead and make sure they have a sober ride home."
Red ribbons are available through the MADD Canada web site, Chapters and Community Leaders, Allstate Canada offices across the country and participating sponsor outlets. For more information, please see the Project Red Ribbon page on the MADD Canada web site at madd.ca. Watch for the red ribbon on social media as well, as MADD Canada encourages volunteers, members, supporters and the general public to share photos of their red ribbons with online friends and followers using #projectredribbon.
In honour of Project Red Ribbon, landmarks around the country are lighting up red, including Toronto's CN Tower and 3D Toronto Sign (November 1), Edmonton's High Level Bridge (November 4), Niagara Falls (December 4), Welland Bridge (December 4) and Renaud Park in Joliette, Quebec (all of November and December).
Anyone who needs a safe ride home from a holiday party or any event can check out MADD Canada sponsor, THE RIDE/#Taxi, and their Transit app for fast and easy transportation options. Simply download THE RIDE app on your smartphone to book nearby cabs and plan your best transit route anywhere in Canada. And you can always dial #TAXI (#8294) on any cell phone to connect to the first available taxi company or a preferred one. For more information, visit http://gettherideapp.com/ and http://www.poundtaxi.com/
Those who wish to support Project Red Ribbon financially can donate through MADD Canada's web site. A text donation option is also available for cell phone users; simply text "MADD" to 45678 to donate $5. The one-time donation is added to the user's cell phone bill.
MADD Canada thanks its national 2016 Project Red Ribbon sponsors for their generous support: Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, Irving Oil, #TAXI/The Ride, BMO Financial Group, CTL Corp., McLeod Safety and RTL Westcan Group of Companies.
About MADD Canada
MADD Canada (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a national, charitable organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime. With volunteer-driven groups in more than 100 communities across Canada, MADD Canada aims to offer support services to victims, heighten awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and save lives and prevent injuries on our roads. To learn more, visit www.madd.ca.
About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country's leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in "Good Hands®" as well as its employees, and has been listed four years in a row on the Best Employers in Canada list. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as MADD Canada, United Way and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca.