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  • Writer's pictureAthanasia Houvarda

Beyond One Split Second

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

A 22 years journey of Resilience, Collaboration, and Road Safety Advocacy

Life's journey has a way of testing us with unexpected twists and turns. Would you agree? For me, it was a split second that forever altered the course of my existence. The memory of the tragic day 22 years ago, August 5, is a constant reminder of the fragility of life and the profound impact our actions can have on ourselves and others.

On this 22nd anniversary, commonly known as my "burniversary," I am grateful for the unwavering support I have received from friends, family, and the burn survivor community of the Phoenix Society, The Canadian Burn Surivor Community and the Mamingwey Burn Survivor Society.

Their compassion empowered me to embrace my scars and embark on a journey of reinvention, discovering newfound strength within. Encouraged by their trust in my ability to bring change, I summoned the courage to take the first steps on my advocacy path.

I contacted the traffic police, shared my story and asked if there were any ways I could be involved in advocating for road safety. They warmly embraced me and trusted me to work together to prevent others from enduring the pain a road accident can cause.

I have crafted a concise video to give my audience a deeper insight into the events that unfolded on August 5, 2001, and better understand the circumstances that led to the tragic accident. After watching the video, feel free to leave a comment on what you think happened after the last scene and how this accident could have been prevented.

Working with the traffic Police

It has been a truly rewarding experience to work closely with the traffic police for the last four years. Watch the video below to witness moments of one of our presentations at a school in Thessaloniki.

Young students had the opportunity to engage with the traffic police, ask questions, participate in educational games, and get up close to police vehicles, all while learning about the critical importance of road safety.

This joyful and educational experience is shaping responsible and compassionate future drivers.

A Reminder of Road Safety

As we all know, life has a way of circling back to profound lessons. Twenty-two years after my accident, I can't help but wonder if I am on the right advocacy path, if I am making a difference or if I am just a dreamer. The experience of obtaining a driving license in Canada after 26 years of being a fully licensed driver in Greece reminded me of the importance of road safety at every stage of our journey as drivers.

This experience and some of the comments I have received reignited my commitment to sharing my message, knowing how lives can be forever impacted in one split second.

Drive by example!

Life is precious, and the choices we make on the road can echo through generations. It is within our power to shape a world where every journey is met with safety and where young minds grow up knowing the importance of responsible driving.

August 5 is a day of reflection for my family and me.

Reflecting on my 22 years of resilience, collaboration, and road safety advocacy to bring change, I am filled with a sense of purpose and determination. The journey from tragedy to triumph has taught me that life's challenges can be transformed into opportunities for growth and transformation. I invite each one of you to join me on this journey. Together, we can create a world where tragedies are prevented, and lives are safeguarded.

Thank you all for being a part of a transformative journey.


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