Article courtesy of: First Coast News
By Laura Caso
SAINT SIMONS ISLAND, GA. — One teen’s death is sparking a national campaign, called ‘TextLess Live More. ‘The campaign launched after Merritt Levitan, 18, was tragically killed when she was hit by a distracted driver on an Arkansas highway during her big 3000 mile cross-country bicycle trip.
Officials said the man was texting on his phone, for just four seconds. The tragedy happened just before Merritt’s freshman year at Colgate University.
Unfortunately, it was a bicycle trip that ended in terrible tragedy.Merritt was quickly helicoptered to a hospital in Memphis, but the injuries to her brain were too severe, and she died the following day on July 3.
Six others were seriously injured in the accident, but Merritt was the only fatality.However, Merritt’s mother, Anna Cherise Levitan, a Saint Simons Island native, is vowing to change lives and create something good out of something heartbreaking. She and three of Merritt’s friends from Milton, Massachusetts, are hoping their campaign will inspire others to stop texting behind the wheel.
“Her spirit has spawned this incredible movement and force for good and I know her very well and she wouldn’t want us to stop living…hence live more text less,” said Levitan.
With the help of Merritt’s mother, two Public Service announcements launched in honor of Merriitt. The point of the TextLess Live More campaign, is not just to stop senseless traffic deaths, but to encourage young people to start living life to the fullest.
The students created ‘text-free’ days at their school Milton Academy, out of Massachusetts. They have also designed blue bracelets that read, ‘TextLess Live More.’ The mission is to stop excessive phone use and encourage other activities.Merritt’s friends created monthly “text-free” days and bracelets that have been sent to colleges and schools across the country.
“She loved so greatly,” said Levitan. “She connected with everyone and that was her greatest gift.”July 3rd, 2014 marks one year since Merritt’s death.
Her friends have declared that day, ‘text-free’ in order to remember her legacy and inspire others.
To learn more about TextLess Live More, visit 558.f7a.myftpupload.com.