BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A story of recovery with a call to action. That's what one Ocean Springs graduate presented to students from several schools at Biloxi High Saturday.
Alexa Cacibauda suffered from a crippling accident as the result of a distracted driver in 2013. Now, she's hoping that her message will make people think twice before picking up their phone while behind the wheel.
"I never thought I would find myself in this situation," said Cacibauda.
Her situation was one that no junior in college ever wants to experience. One December night just a few years ago left Cacibauda with a spinal and brain injury.
"Everything was so different. I just thought that I wasn't going to recover and my life was over," said Cacibauda.
But, it was far from over. Now, while she is almost finished with rehab, Cacibauda's legs are paralyzed from the knee down.
She later learned that the person who hit her was driving while distracted. Pretty soon, she had a mission. She wanted teens to understand the importance of safe driving.
"I don't think that really clicks with you until you're in that situation or you meet someone that's in that situation," said Cacibauda.
She got in touch with the S.A.V.E. organization, which brings students together against violence and other pressing issues. These students heard Alexa's story of triumph and were tasked with bringing her message to their peers.
"I don't understand why people would want to risk your life or other people's lives for texting words to someone when you could just wait," said high schooler Callie Douglas.
Helping Alexa spread her message were Anna Chataginer and Abby Lawson, members of the S.A.V.E. Youth Advisory Board, which is a group of high school and middle school students who promote non-violence.
Abby knew the importance of the workshop.
"They see what happens. This is real life. It's not a movie." Anna agreed. "If we can make one difference in someone's life, make sure one person doesn't get hit, I will be happy. I'll feel accomplished."
Cacibauda shared that desire to help. After all, she says she would never want to see anyone else share her experience.
"It's important to spread this message to prevent as many accidents as we can," said Cacibauda.
Cacibauda has recovered quite a bit since her wreck, but still can only walk with the assistance of special leg braces.
Saturday's workshop was made possible by a grant from the Allstate Foundation.
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