Dawne McKay is the founder of The Crash Support Network. She started the group after she survived a horrible car crash in 2012.
Feeling isolated and alone during her recovery she could not find an online support group for survivors of motor vehicle crashes.
“I was looking for others to connect with, who understood what I was going through,” she says. “I took it upon myself to create a group for people who share the same experience as me.”
In April 2016 The Crash Support Network was born and within a few minutes of her first post, Dawne had a follower.
“Jimmy was the survivor of a truck crash,” says Dawne. “For the first time, I didn’t feel alone.”
The day of Dawne’s crash started out as a normal drive to work. She was taking a left turn at an intersection when the car behind her rear-ended her, pushing her car into the path of a transport truck.
“I vaguely remember it,” she says. “I remember parts of the first impact and nothing of the second hit but recall someone holding my hand while we waited for the ambulance to arrive.”
She stayed in a downtown Toronto trauma centre for 3 days suffering from multiple injuries.
“It was a life changing experience where I felt very vulnerable from the moment the crash happened to the hospital stay and the long road to recovery.”
Once time had passed and her support network got back to their regular lives, she felt very alone in dealing with the aftermath including discussions with insurance agencies, lawyers, and medical professionals as well as reeling from her experience.
Dealing with the mental, physical and financial aspects of a crash was a lot and something she didn’t want anyone else to experience on their own.
From the moment she launched The Crash Support Network group, Dawne’s days of feeling alone were over.
When Jimmy wrote her, it was to say that he had been in a terrible truck crash and was worried about his wife and children. Completely understanding him, Dawne replied to say, “I went through a horrific car crash too - I’m here for you.”
Group members will often say they wished they had known about such a support group sooner.
Similar to the online Down Syndrome community that Tara McCallan discussed on The Happy Soul Project for RESILIENT PEOPLE. "I gathered an army to support us. We've been uplifted by people worldwide."
The Crash Support Network Facebook group is private allowing members to have open conversations with one another, creating a space for empathy, support, appreciation and respect.
For Dawne, she gets teary thinking about what the group means to her.
“I remember sitting on my couch feeling all alone in the struggles I was facing. When I created the group my goal was to help just one person and now I’m helping over 650 people.”
Along with the Facebook group, Dawne has designed a website which covers a multitude of topics including a personal blog on her journey to recovery, insurance and legal advice, as well as articles written by survivors. It’s a first-stop destination for crash survivors.
Her resilience comes from desperately needing to find a sense of purpose, seeing the crash for what it was and wanting to help other survivors.
“I have always believed in myself and understood that setbacks are temporary. I decided to focus my energy on creating awareness for survivors of motor vehicle crashes who may be struggling alone, and sharing my personal experience as a crash survivor is rewarding.”
For more information on The Crash Support Network, visit www.crashsupportnetwork.com, the private Facebook group, Twitter and the public Facebook page.