Belfast Telegraph

Melissa's tragic tale is just so inspiring

By Lindy McDowell

There's a spate of road safety ads currently showing on television featuring families who have been directly affected - in the worst way possible - by the death and injury toll on our roads.

It's impossible not to be moved to tears by them. The parents talking about the loss of their beautiful daughter or lovely son. The young man desperately injured and now cared for by his mother.

And the one that has touched me most of all - the story of Melissa.

The young woman from Londonderry was horrifically injured when the car in which she was a passenger crashed. She wasn't wearing her seatbelt. She was tired and had lain down in the back seat. She was only 19 at the time. She lived. But she'll never walk again.

Melissa talks poignantly in the ad of facing up to the realisation of all the things she'll never do again.

But it must surely comfort her - and the others who took part in this heart-rending campaign - to know that they are doing something massive in terms, hopefully, of saving other lives.

I really can't imagine what it must be like for those people to sit there and relive their grief for the camera - solely with the aim of sparing someone else from the same awful heartbreak they have known.

Melissa talks about what she can't do. And yet what she has done is truly inspirational.

I really cannot think of any other young woman on our screens right now I admire more. And I hope she knows how much what she has done - what all of those taking part in the campaign have done - is appreciated and respected by the rest of us.

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