Hope For A Helmet
By Jillian Petrus, Reporter
IOWA CITY, Iowa - It's a tiny blue key chain that's could make a big statement in Des Moines.
Hope for a Helmet is the message these three Iowa City High School, Olivia Lofgren - Caroline Van Voorhis and Leah Murray - students plan to take all the way to the state capitol.
They're doing it – to remember the friend they lost.
"This way we can at least honor her and honor her life while still trying to prevent anyone from going through the same thing we've gone through," said long-time friend Olivia Lofgren.
Caroline Found, 17, loved volleyball and spending time with her friends. This past August the girl with an infectious smile and bright future died tragically when the moped she was driving crashed - killing her instantly.
Her friends say they now wonder- if state law forced Caroline to wear a helmet would she be sitting on this couch with them right now.
"There are so many what if's, that's a big what if. You know, what if she had been wearing a helmet," said friend Caroline Van Voorhis. Van Voorhis joined Hope for a Helmet after reading Lofgren and Murray's editorial on the subject in the school's newspaper.
That's why these girls are working with local legislators Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City and Dave Jacoby of Coralville to change Iowa law.
The girls say they're starting small - focusing only on moped riders under 18. They've spoken to doctors and nurses at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City and Blank Hospital in Des Moines.
They believe, if young adults make a habit of wearing a helmet early, it could save their lives in the future.
"Teenagers don't always listen to their parents but they'll listen to the government and they'll listen if they get a ticket which is why this is so important," said Leah Murray, a friend also working on Hope for a Helmet.
To raise money for their cause – they're selling these blue key chains, Caroline's favorite color, with Caroline's volleyball number 9 printed on the inside. They say this will serve as a reminder of her loss – preserve her memory –while at the same time remaining hopeful for change.
The key chains are only two dollars. The girls will use the money to help bring them to the capitol – create pamphlets and get their voices heard.
On January 7th at 9 A.M. they'll be selling the key chains at Iowa City West High School in Iowa City.