Cathy Fournier spent her day off hard at work, volunteering at a St. Albans blood drive. It is the latest project for this bank employee from Swanton who's become an outspoken advocate. "I'm not understanding why we can't make better laws to protect our families," she said.
Fournier lost her son, Nick, in 2007. He was just 18-years-old, a passenger in a car driving on Interstate 89 in Colchester, when another driver got on the highway going in the wrong direction, colliding with the teens. Shawn Burritt was drunk, with prior DUI convictions on his record.
Burritt was sentenced to 10 years' jail time, but his victim's mother lobbies for stricter controls over deadly drunk drivers. She's also carrying on one of her child's missions: promoting blood donation.
Monday was the third annual Franklin County blood drive in memory of Nick Fournier, with a collection goal of 200 units. "He was so proud when he got his donor card in the mail. He just wanted to do it," Fournier remembered. "As heartbreaking as it is for us as a family, it's heartwarming knowing there are so many young kids and people in the community who came to donate blood in his memory."
This support comes at a critical time for the American Red Cross. The need for blood tends to rise in the summer, as the number of donors tends to dip. "We really didn't know what to expect, it being July 5 and a 90-plus degree day. But as you can see, it's certainly very busy," said Melanie Nattress, a registered nurse with the American Red Cross.
After failing blood iron tests the past two years, Cathy Fournier was hoping she could give blood this year. She passed the check and donated. Her son once asked her to help out at his high school blood drive. "So I'm actually very pleased. I feel good about it," Fournier said.
After Nick Fournier's senseless death, his mom is proud to be part of the gift of life.
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