Sandra LaRose became a road safety speaker, advocating for a change in people’s choices regarding distracted driving to honor the memory of her daughter, Kailynn.
A Bit About Me
I am the founder and president of Sharing Kailynn’s Sunshine Foundation Inc., and a Rail Safety Ambassador with Operation Lifesaver Canada. I have been involved with both Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and Operation Lifesaver Canada sharing Kailynn’s story on both safety platforms. I work full-time in Regina helping support students at Ignite Adult Learning Corporation. I’m a mother of two and divide my time between Regina and the farm I share with my husband, Aaron.
Kailynn is the inspiration and motivation behind my drive. Kailynn was born August 21, 2001 and gained her angel wings on August 22, 2018. She was selfless, caring, loving, and the hardest working young lady. She had goals and ambitions. She would have changed the world, and even following her death she IS changing the world. Born in Regina, SK, Kailynn went to school in Fillmore, SK for K-Grade 9 and to Weyburn Comprehensive High School in Weyburn, SK for Grades 10 and 11. She loved animals, music, musicals, volleyball, and most of all, her friends and family.
She is missed. She is loved. But her presence is always there.
August 16, 2018 changed my life forever.
August 22, 2018, my world came crashing down. The loss of my 17-year-old daughter Kailynn has impacted my life in many ways. I remember saying before Kailynn lost her fight, that if her phone had anything to do with her collision, I was not going to keep quiet. Finding out it was caused by distracted driving fuelled my passion for change.
Through this indescribable loss, and navigating grief, I knew that Kailynn’s story had to be shared.
In 2019, after speaking to the Minister responsible for SGI (Saskatchewan Government Insurance), I provided the voiceover for SGI’s distracted driving campaign. The campaign slogan “don’t miss out on life” stuck with me. Also in 2019, I was provided the opportunity to be part of Operation Lifesaver Canada’s #STOPTrackTragedies campaign.
In 2020 I was approached by Manitoba Public Insurance to be part of their Friends for Life Speaker Series.
Two series later, close to 9,000 students impacted, I was motivated to share “Kailynn’s Story” with as many people as possible. Distracted driving is the leading cause of collisions in most parts of the country. Cell phone use is the main distracter. It is time to change habits, and “Kailynn’s Story” will give you the reasons why those habits should change.
Part of my healing has been focusing on saving others.
I will never know the exact numbers and the impact is not measurable by statistics, but I know in my heart that Kailynn’s death can be turned into a lesson. This is a lesson that I want drivers to learn, not experience. I want to make sure no other parent is standing in my shoes. I want to make sure that no other senior class starts their final year of school in mourning. Kailynn missed out on a future, and I lost part of my future as well. I want to educate others so they can have a tomorrow.
My story is actually Kailynn’s Story.
My presentation is approximately 50 minutes of hard truths. “Kailynn’s Story” is written for teens, but the impact it has is ageless. “Kailynn’s Story” shares my loss, Kailynn’s loss, and lessons to teach drivers the importance of making safe and smart decisions.
I lost my daughter. I will never get her back. I care because I am a mom. I care because I am human. I care because everyone deserves to live a long and full life.
If one person is saved by hearing me speak, Kailynn and I have done our jobs.
By allowing me to present to your school, your organization, or your company, you are helping me have an impact on many.
On the Blog…
Kailynn continues to inspire me to move forward and heal. Part of that healing is sharing. I’m an open book, and here are some of my chapters
On August 22, 2018, Sandra LaRose lost her 17-year-old daughter, Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk, in a tragic railway crossing incident. Kailynn died after the car she…
I’ve been asked many times how I can stand in front of a crowd and share “Kailynn’s Story”. Another question I get is why…