Ruidoso News (New Mexico)
October 14, 2008
Everyone would agree that losing one’s sister, particularly one’s twin sister and best friend, right before your eyes is the most emotionally-searing experience one can have.
That is exactly what happened to Cara Filler, but she says her tragedy isn’t all that unique.
“Everyone has a story of someone they’ve lost,” Filler said. “My story isn’t all that special.”
What makes Filler different is that she decided to take her family’s tragedy and turn it into a compelling presentation for high school and college students across two countries, hopefully instilling in them a sense of responsibility in living.
Filler and her sister, Mairin, had turned 18 the day before the accident, in which a car being driven at high speeds by Mairin’s boyfriend hit another vehicle head on.
Mairin’s death was almost the death of the entire family, but Cara turned it into a personal quest to keep the same sort of thing from happening to others.
“I’m not here to make people feel sorry for me,” Filler said of her presentations. “I’m trying to give them choices that will allow them to grow old and tell stories to their kids and grandkids.”
Filler spoke to students at Ruidoso High School last week, her speaking fee paid for by a grant awarded to the RHS SADD chapter.
She spoke to a rapt audience of young people in the Ruidoso School’s Performing Arts Center, describing the choices they can make which will likely give them the long lives she wants them to have.
“You can’t give this message out enough,” Filler said. “I’ve been speaking for 14 years, and my message has changed a lot.”
Filler’s first speaking engagement came just two months after her sister’s death, at the high school in Vancouver, Canada, where the two attended.
“At the time, I was trying to save everyone, because I wasn’t able to save my sister,” Filler said. “Now, I only work to give them the tools they need to survive. I want them to know they have options.”
High speed is what killed Filler’s sister, but it was also a lack of courage to stop that type of driving. She hopes students she speaks to can realize ñ even as passengers and they can make choices which can stop that type of driving and likely save their lives.
“They always call these traffic ‘accidents’,” Filler told the students. “If you look up that word in the dictionary, an accident is something that can’t be avoided. These car crashes can be avoided, every one of them. It just depends on what choices people make.”