New foundation launching in honour of three children, grandfather killed in impaired driving crash
After losing her three children and father in an impaired driving collision almost three years ago, Jennifer Neville-Lake hopes their legacies live on through a new foundation she is launching next week.
“I’m choosing to focus not on who killed them [and] why they’re dead,” said Neville-Lake, mother of Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5, and Milly, 2.
“To remember their passions, their legacies and to remember that Daniel was a ballet dancer, Harry wanted to be a girl and have long hair… and my Milly; that I felt like I never really got to know as well as I should have. I choose to focus on [the reasons and] their passions when they were alive and to hopefully share that with everybody else.”
On Sept. 27, 2015, the three children were killed in an impaired driving collision at the intersection of Kirby Road and Kipling Avenue in Vaughan, Ont.
The children’s grandfather, Gary Neville, was also killed.
Marco Muzzo was driving a Jeep SUV that caused the collision and in February 2016, he pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. He is currently serving a 10-year sentence and will face a 12-year driving ban upon release.
Timeline: the hours leading up to the impaired driving collision that killed three children and their grandfather
“I don’t know who I am anymore. There’s no easy way, because there are no identities. There are no parts of me,” she said.
“I’m still trying to shift through them to see what’s left because it’s still so surreal.”
In an effort to keep their legacies alive, Jennifer and her husband created the foundation Many Hands, Doing Good which is named using the first initial of their children, Milly, Harrison, Daniel, and their grandfather Gary.
The not-for-profit will be set up into three different funds that people can apply for through the website.
It is meant to provide financial assistance for art and music therapy, and dance classes.
There is also a scholarship for students who are interested in radio broadcasting, which was a passion for Neville-Lake’s father, Gary.
“My kids really loved dancing, they really loved music…I thought, well how can we combine their passions but at the same time help out?” said Neville-Lake.
Const. Andy Pattenden of York Regional Police, one of the not-for-profit’s board members, said he met Neville-Lake and her husband, Ed, during Muzzo court proceedings.
“I met Jennifer and Ed at one of the most challenging times of their lives …I was able to befriend them and help them out in a time of need and Jennifer had talked to me about wanting to start up this not-for-profit organization,” he said.
“The basis behind it all is focusing on what her children and her father loved to do and what their passions were and trying to provide funding for people to benefit from those passions as well.”
WATCH: Jennifer Neville-Lake, mother of three children killed in an impaired driving crash, speaks about her life after the horrific tragedy and how she’s trying to cope.
On the foundation’s website, it said it was “born from the community response to an unspeakable tragedy,” and Neville-Lake said it will be funded by money raised through the GoFundMe page for the family after the crash happened in 2015, plus donations by various other contributors.
“People were so generous to us and we wanted to figure a way to come back and give it back to people,” Neville-Lake said.
“Helping kids has always been something that I’ve been very passionate about.”
Many Hands, Doing Good will officially launch on July 3 at Luv 2 Play indoor playground in Richmond Hill, Ont.
“It’s a terrible, terrible event that happened that claimed the lives of the three Neville-Lake children as well as their grandfather,” Pattenden said.
“It’s Jennifer’s strength and her vision to really want to make the world a better place and honour her children and father.”
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