11 November 2020

"A life can change in the blink of an eye" - a family's plea for road safety

| Michael Weaver
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Alexis Saaghy

Alexis Saaghy will be remembered as a selfless and compassionate soul. Photos: Supplied.

A mother has said she lost “her best mate” – and many others lost a best friend – when 16-year-old Alexis Saaghy died last Tuesday in the early hours of the morning.

Her parents were there when Alexis’s life support was turned off following a car accident three days earlier.

Her mother Claire Wood made a heartfelt plea for road safety following the incident at Wanniassa at about 1:50 am on 31 October.

“A life can change or end in the blink of an eye. We can’t turn back time to do things over. Please drive safely,” Claire told Region Media.

Alexis was the front seat passenger in a Nissan Navara driven by an 18-year-old P-plater that hit a tree on Longmore Crescent in Wanniassa. Alexis was taken to the intensive care unit with life-threatening injuries.

The driver and other two passengers in the vehicle were also taken to hospital and released shortly after but will carry the mental scars of the tragic accident forever. An investigation by ACT Policing remains ongoing and it is expected charges will be laid.

The statistics count Alexis’s death as the sixth road fatality in the ACT this year, four more than last year. However, Alexis’ father Joel Saaghy and mother Claire are now preparing to remember their daughter as the glue that held her extended family together, which included her four sisters and a baby brother.

Alexis and her family in Sydney

Alexis Saaghy (centre in white) with her family including step-father Shane and mother Claire during a recent trip to Sydney.

“Alexis was my best mate and we just supported each other through everything. She was like a second mum to her sisters and her little brother – she adored him,” Claire said.

“Alexis was right in the middle of our blended family – she was the glue.”

A Go Fund Me page to honour Alexis to address what they described as “the ripple effect of a beautiful life taken due to unforeseen circumstances” has already raised more than $12,000 in its first 24 hours. It has a target of $16,000 and all money raised will be donated in her name to the Blue Datto Foundation.

The registered not-for-profit foundation is dedicated to reducing the incidence and impact of road trauma and to start a conversation about road safety at the family and community level.

“This will be her legacy to the world, knowing that this small gesture may save further lives from a similar tragedy,” the family said on the fundraising page.

Claire said her daughter was a selfless and compassionate soul.

“She would always share everything she had, even when it meant she wouldn’t have it herself,” Claire said.

“She was thoughtful and caring, especially towards her family.

“Alexis was exceptional because she stood up for others. She was big on women’s rights and as an Indigenous girl, she cared about the Black Lives Matter movement. She would speak passionately about climate change and would speak up for people with disabilities.

“She would empower people around her and I will miss her random compliments to strangers.”

Alexis also loved the music of The Beatles and David Bowie. She will be honoured at her funeral on Monday with The Beatles’ songs Let It Be and Here Comes The Sun, along with The Magic Dance from one of her favourite movies, The Labyrinth featuring David Bowie.

READ ALSO Road safety campaign launched as school mourns weekend fatality

Claire said the impact of the tragic car accident extends well beyond Alexis’s immediate family and friends.

The Tuggeranong Vikings Basketball Club paused for 16 seconds of silence before each game last week as a show of the club’s solidarity. The Tuggeranong Vikings junior rugby union team held a memorial last night (9 November).

“Many more lives have been indirectly affected by this tragedy – not just our family, our friends, but our communities, our emergency and hospital workers and more,” Claire said.

“Alexis was in the age group where they’re all getting their Ls or Ps and they’re all going to be out driving. If we can get them to make one good choice and change their minds about not driving in the rain or enforcing that P-plater curfew, I think if we can prevent one more person losing their life and one family having to go through this, then this ripple has the opportunity to be used for good.”

You can view the Go Fund Me page set up for Alexis Saaghy and donate to the ongoing awareness of road trauma.

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