June 12, 1998; a day she will never forget: When 15 year old, Sarah Jackson, climbed into a car with an underage drinking driver, she didn’t know that choices can impact dreams. The driver lost control and Sarah sustained severe injuries. She underwent 5 months of rehabilitation and the traumatic brain injury that she lives with today, as a result of the crash, is a constant reminder of how lucky she is to be alive. Having a foggy memory of herself that treacherous night, she still lives with the pain and tenderness of the day she almost died; the day she will never forget.
Sarah, now 19, lives in Shoreham, Vermont with her younger sister, Kristen, mother and father, Robin and Steve Jackson. She attends Community College of Vermont, part-time, in hopes to get her Associates Degree in Communication. Sarah travels throughout Vermont and beyond, to speak to elementary, middle and high schools, as well as teacher trainings and other various organizations, telling her story hoping to prevent further tragedies.
In 1998, Vermont ranked #1 in the nation in alcohol related deaths per capita.
In 2001, when she was 17, Vermont ranked #48. Sarah is a common believer that she has helped these statistical numbers decrease by speaking to her peers.
Sarah continues to fulfill her goal. She has participated in the 2000 national conference held by Students Against Destructive Decisions. Her first national speaking experience was in 2000 at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving National Youth Summit and the 2000 MADD International Candlelight vigil.
She represented Middlebury Union High School in the 2000 Prudential Spirit of Community Award Program and was runner-up in the state of Vermont. In 2001, Sarah attended the SADD National conference as a delegate and a speaker. In that same year, she attended the National Organization of Youth Safety Conference. At this conference, she shared her experience with others in a video made by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Sarah has also received the ‘Highway Hero’ award for her efforts to promote safe and healthy lifestyles for Vermont teens. Furthermore, the Vermont Brain Injury Association awarded her with the ‘Survivor of the Year’ award in 2001. She is constantly looking for opportunities to spread her message locally and nationally. Jackson believes this is an increasing nation-wide problem that is killing many people year after year and needs to be stopped.