Meg Herndon's mom supports new helment requirements
Meg Herndon was a member of the Southeast Missouri State University soccer team and was hit by a truck while driving her scooter on Sept. 9. She wasn't wearing a helmet and died on Sept. 20 from brain injuries.
Since the tragedy, her mother Cindi Herndon has supported the ordinance that the Cape Girardeau city council passed on Nov. 5, stating that all scooter drivers must purchase insurance, wear helmets and drive on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. She has posted comments and mentioned how much it has meant to her on a Caring Bridge website created in Meg Herndon's name. Caring Bridge is an organization that allows people to create web pages on which they post health condition updates.
On Nov. 16, the ordinance went into effect and Cindi Herndon wrote on the Caring Bridge website that she applauds the city of Cape Girardeau for recognizing the issue and would love to see the support go to a state-level.
Q: Where do you work and what do you do?
A: I'm a nurse and an assistant manager of the St. Louis Pediatric emergency room, which is a trauma center. I do management and clinicals, working in the emergency rooms, which may be good and bad for me. But I've seen a lot of senseless deaths that could've been prevented. I'm an advocate whenever it comes to helmets, seat belts and whatever we can do to protect.
Q: How does it make you feel that the ordinance passed recently, requiring scooter owners to wear helmets?
A: I'm excited for it. I think it's a well worth ordinance and any safety is. Everyone needs to be protected if they are going to be on the main roads. I know a lot of people don't believe in those rights, but it's just like wearing a seatbelt and driving an ATV. I work at a pediatric center, so I've always been a safety advocate.
Q: You said it was a small step and you would love to see it go further in the state in a passage on caringbridge.org. What exactly is that next step?
A: I see, following what Cape did, being a college town, they recognize that there is an increased accident rate. It took a devastating accident and probably won't be the only one. Everybody you see driving scooters now, they're doing it. There needs to be some sort of protection. Same goes with ATV safety, that's huge too. I think Cape took a big step.
Q: Do you think that Southeast should require scooter owners to take a class beforehand?
A: I think that it might be difficult for them to require a class. I think it's the ordinance in our local government, you have to have a helmet or get a driver's permit or take a driver's class. But they should increase the awareness, yes.
Q: Some people disagreed with the ordinance. Is there anything you'd like to say?
A: I respect everybody's opinion. Everyone has their own opinion of how to be safe. There are safety components that should be mandated, you know, ultimately if something happens, like if they're in a car accident, it's not always just them paying for it. There are a lot of long term effects on that. Statistically, they do show dramatic improvements on the outcome. Increasing safety is the piece I like to push.
Q: What was your involvement with the ordinance?
A: I actually had no involvement in it. I didn't even know about it until after I saw it posted on Facebook and Twitter. I know an article said it was brought forward by someone. I had nothing to do with it though. It sounded like it had been a topic previous to the accident. I wish I would had known or I would've helped.
Q: Can you explain the Endowed Scholarship in Meg's honor?
A: Honestly, it's something we're working with through the soccer team. I personally don't know how it works yet. Her dad and I will set the parameters on how everyone will apply for that. We are trying to raise $10,000 to get it going. We're going to look on that in the spring. I think it will be a great honor for Meg.
Q: How does it feel that they are going to honor Meg at graduation?
A: This is a big honor. The fact they're doing all of this, I'm very touched. I think it says a lot to the school community as well. The nursing department is actually doing a pinning reception, and the student athletes will have a reception the night before graduation too. I'll be at all of that.
Q: I think people would like to know, how have you and the rest of the family been?
A: Everything's day by day, every day's a struggle. Today [Nov. 29] marks 10 weeks exactly when she passed away. Unfortunately, we have to get up the next day. Her brother and sister are moving and getting back into things. There's not a day we don't go by thinking about her. Thanksgiving was rough and Christmas will be even harder, but I try to think of what we can do to remember her, like the scholarship, then what can we do to increase the awareness of scooter safety? There are precautions that everyone needs to be aware of. You can't stop all of that stuff. It's about knowing the safety precautions. We want to increase the awareness.
Q: Have you kept in contact with the coaches and players lately?
A: Yeah, here and there, a lot of girls have Facebooked me or sent me texts. On Dec. 14, I'm going to speak at the athletic reception and then I'm going to attend graduation where they will honor Meg and give her degree. We'll attend those ceremonies. But I've had several of them keep in touch.
Q: If someone wants to make any kind of donation, how would they do so?
A: We still have the 'Pray4Meg' through PayPal or they can write a check to the Meg Herndon trust. They can also make a donation if they click on firstname.lastname@example.org on the Caring Bridge website.