MECHANICSVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — A Hanover County mom whose son was killed in a drunk driving crash says she’s forgiven the young man who was behind the wheel.
“I have forgiven. I have moved forward, you know. All I can do is extend grace and forgive,” explains Donna Ballard.
She is speaking out for the first time since that heartbreaking tragedy in April of 2016.
Ballard’s son Dylan was one of two young people killed in a devastating crash on Cold Harbor Road.
17-year-old Dylan was a senior on the Lee Davis High School football team.Three of his friends were seriously hurt, including the young man behind the wheel.
Seth Fleming is now serving six years in jail for involuntary manslaughter.
“Without forgiveness, I couldn’t move forward and the forgiveness is as much for me as it is for the other person,” explains Ballard.
She has replaced the anger of losing her son with the hope of saving other families from the same kind of heartbreak.
Ballard just started a nonprofit called Never 2 L8. The 2 and 8 were Dylan’s jersey number.
Never 2 L8 is designed to help young people learn to make better choices.
“Just trying to help make a difference, one life at a time,” says Ballard. “If I could save one family … if never 2 L8 could make one family not live in our shoes, then we’ve succeeded.”
She hopes the non-profit can help create a new culture in young people and encourage them to make safe, smart choices when it comes to driving, drugs and alcohol.
“Any choice that we make has a consequence, whether it’s a good or a bad and we just want them to know that next step. Just be prepared,” explains Ballard.
Never 2 L8 is in the early stages of creating a curriculum she would love to share in Hanover’s high schools.
When asked what her son would think of her new passion, his teary-eyed mother replied, “He’d be proud.”
Never 2 L8 is holding several fundraisers to raise money for its cause.
Right now, the organization is selling Virginia Diner Nuts.
On December 7th, Riverbound Cafe is hosting a spirit night for Never 2 L8.
Never 2 L8 is also on Facebook.