Local family featured in impaired driving campaign

SGI’s newest impaired driving campaign features the tragic story of a local family.

Aurora Ledoux (Lepine) was four when she succumbed to health conditions from her emergency c-section birth when her mother was killed by an impaired driver. Her story is the latest included in the ‘People Shouldn’t Disappear ‘campaign, which is currently running online.

The ad campaign “shows the void left behind when a loved one is killed by an impaired driver,” SGI says on its website.

The campaign uses the photos and stories of real people killed by impaired drivers.

“We’re extremely grateful to the families of these individuals for sharing their personal stories photos and memories. Their selfless decision to participate in this campaign will help raise awareness about the importance of never driving impaired, so no one else has the experience the pain they’re going through.”

According to the SGI website, Aurora was born by emergency C-section after her mother was hit by an impaired driver in Prince Albert while 26 weeks pregnant.

Brandy, who was previously featured in the campaign, was rushed to hospital but did not survive. Aurora suffered trauma to her brain and kidney from the crash while in utero, and was born with fluid in her lungs, weighing only two pounds, two ounces at birth.

Doctors gave her a 50/50 chance of survival.

The driver was sentenced to four years in prison, but according to SGI, that’s small consolation for Brandy’s mother, Josie Ledoux, as it won’t bring Brandy or Aurora back.

““Brandy didn’t have to leave this world so early without her baby. She should have been here to be a mother to Aurora,” SGI quoted her as saying.

“ She should have been here to be my daughter.”

Aurora spent the first six months of her life in intensive care at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

“When I first saw her in that incubator with her little tiny hands and feet … she looked at me and it made me so proud, knowing Brandy left a little piece of her behind for me to love,”Ledoux said.

As a result of her premature delivery and her injuries, Aurora was in and out of hospital and had several surgeries. She couldn’t talk, walk, play or go to preschool. On good days, Ledoux would take Aurora shopping, or hang out at home and watch movies.

Aurora passed away on Feb. 9 ate age 4.

Ledoux, SGI says, finds comfort knowing Aurora is no longer suffering and that mother and daughter are together at last.

““I know Brandy loved her baby with all her heart,” she said.

“Knowing Aurora was the best part of my life. We will not forget Brandy and Aurora. We will not stop loving them. They taught us how to love.”

Minister responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave called Aurora’s story “tragic.

“It was four years of difficult life for sure.”

The ad campaign featuring these tragic stories, such as Brandy, Aurora and Prince Albert’s Ben Darchuk, has proven effective, he said.

‘We think (with) the awareness campaign we started, we’ve changed the laws and we’re paying for additional enforcement, that’s, we think, the main contributor to changing some attitudes and driving that number down.”

In 2017, Hargrave said, there was a 40 per cent decline in deaths from drinking and driving. But SGI isn’t done there.

“We’re working on additional campaigns as we speak, and we’ve got both an awareness campaign and an educational portion, hopefully being announced here this fall.”

Hargrave also hopes that the public takes the message to heart, and shares the video when it appears on their social media feeds.

“When you see it, share it,” he said.

“That’s how we get the word out.”