In line with all the DUI cases that have recently surfaced onto the media, including those involving soap stars Sean Kanan (The Bold and the Beautiful
) and Kirsten Storms (General Hospital
), Days of our Lives
actress, Shelley Hennig
, sheds some light into the perilous yet avoidable occurrence that has now driven her to a worthy cause.
Hennig, who currently portrays Stephanie Kay Johnson on Days of our Lives
, has been determined and motivated to become a crusader against underage drinking after losing her older brother, Brad, to a drinking and driving accident in 2001.
"I made an extreme negative into a positive — that was my goal," Hennig told Soap Opera Digest
. "My brother was only 18 when he died. There were four people in the car. Two of them survived. My brother and this girl passed away. We don't know who the driver was. And it doesn't really matter who was drinking."
After the catastrophe, Hennig started working with the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (CADA), a Louisiana nonprofit community health agency. Then, the young actress became a spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Buzz Free Prom project.
Although the Days
star has never gotten over the tragic loss of her brother, she has discovered that sharing her time to these support groups has proven to be somewhat therapeutic.
"Since I was 16 I've been going around speaking at different schools about losing my brother to a drinking and driving crash," Hennig revealed. "My goal and hope was to show people that you're untouchable."
At present, Hennig is deeply involved with Buzz Free Prom, participating on tours on the West Coast and sharing her experience with numerous teenagers.
"The organization's mission is to take alcohol out of the prom equation," Hennig explained. "You get teenagers, kids in high school, to sign a pledge that they won't drink on prom night. They all get together and make this pact."
"I wasn't telling people my story to get sympathy," she added. "I just wanted everyone to know that this could happen to anybody. Drinking and driving is a choice. It's not something you have to do. So be careful, because it's not worth it."
-Kris De Leon, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: Soap Opera Digest
(Image courtesy of Soap Opera Digest)