Brian Nicholas Hoeflinger died in a tragic alcohol-related car accident on 2/2/2013. He had just turned 18 and was to graduate from high school in 3 months. He was at an unsupervised party the night he died in a friend's basement drinking vodka. He became intoxicated with friends, was able to leave the party drunk, get into his car, and drive away. He struck a tree at high speed in our neighborhood, less than a mile from our home, and died.
Since his death, we have been publicly speaking out against teenage drinking and other substance abuse. We have spoken to area high schools and various parent/child groups to bring awareness to the near-epidemic problem of teenage drinking. Statistics show that 30% of 8th graders and nearly 80% of 12th graders have drank alcohol. Furthermore, 25% of 8th graders, 49% of 10th graders and 62% of seniors have been drunk. The topic of teenagers and alcohol, particularly teenage binge drinking, is an extremely under-recognized problem in our society today. To illustrate this point, statistics show that 40,000 women die as a result of breast cancer each year. By comparison, 80,000 people die of alcohol-related problems each year, with 5,000 minors alone under the age of 21 dying from alcohol-related car accidents, suicide and homicide. Yet, breast cancer awareness is leaps and bounds ahead of teenage binge drinking as a recognized problem in our society. Once again, statistics show that 1 in 5 teens binge drink while only 1 in 100 parents thinks their child binge drinks. Even further, 90% of all alcoholics began drinking in their teenage years. For these reasons, we have organized The BrianMatters Challenge Run as a citywide event, to raise awareness to the problem of teens and alcohol. We are hoping to involve all schools in the greater Toledo area and would like to have as many kids, parents and other adults take part in this very important event relating to our children's future. This run presents a unique opportunity for all kids in our community to unify toward a common goal.
We think the BrianMatters 5K run will be a healthy and effective way to get our youth as a group actively involved in a topic which is so important to their futures. Brian once had a bright future. He was a straight A student with a 4.5 GPA. He had been accepted to his first choice of college, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an accomplished golfer and athlete. Brian's life was exemplified by his commitment to hard work, determination for success, as well as his positive attitude and desire to help others. He was looking forward to the future in so many ways and that was all taken away by a "harmless" evening of drinking with friends. He was a good boy who made a bad decision to drink and that mistake cost him his life. We need to change the future by starting now. By using Brian as a lead example, we hope to bring a greater awareness to this problem and start a process in which to help teens make better decisions regarding alcohol and other substance use. We hope you will join us in this very important Race for Change!