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The Loss Of An Only Child

4:44 PM, Jun 25, 2010   |    comments
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Takoma Park, Md. (WUSA)--"I do feel like I've lost him twice," says Laurie Kelly.  "I have."

At her Takoma Park house, Kelly remembers the day she gave Dan up for adoption.  She says she was a young, single mother with no job at the time .  She wanted something better for her son.  So when Dan was 3-months-old, Kelly says she made the very tough decision to give him to another couple. 

However, it was an open adoption.  Which meant Kelly was in contact with Dan and his new parents.  She would spend the next 23 years staying in touch, even taking vacations together out west with Dan.

"He was into extreme sports.  He did skydiving.  He did rock climbing.  He had a great personality," says Kelly.

Unfortunately, Dan's sense of adventure would be cut short.  Not on the mountains or in the wild.  But on a Colorado highway.

MORE: TAKE THE GREAT HANG UP PLEDGE

"I think I've turned a lot of my grief into anger," says Kelly.  "And to be honest, I'm a little angry at him."

It was May 5, 2010.  Dan was on the way to his first job after graduating from college.  Traffic stopped suddenly.

"We don't know if he was talking or texting.  But he was not able to stop in time and he just plowed into the pickup truck in front of him," says Kelly.

Dan died two-and-a-half hours later. 

"It was a waste of a very important life, a waste all for nothing," says Kelly.

Kelly teaches at Carole Highlands Elementary School in Takoma Park. She is taking the Great Hang Up message to the classroom.

"We had a discussion.  We talked about how they should tell their parents, aunts, uncles not to drive while talking on the cell phone or text," says Kelly.

Kelly is also opposed to people using Bluetooth technology.  "Your full attention needs to be on the road at all times."

Kelly hopes her new mission reaches others at home.  Meanwhile, back on her porch, Kelly signs the WUSA9 Great Hang Up Pledge.  Believing it's what Dan would want her, and others to do.

"I think he would like the idea of my helping to save the lives of others."

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