Mariah's Challenge honors memory of teen girl killed by drunk dr - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Mariah's Challenge honors memory of teen girl killed by drunk driver

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BUTTE - This Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of the night when a drunk driver struck and killed 14-year-old Mariah McCarthy. For her father, Leo, her memory is always a breath away.

“I always say you breathe in and remember and you breathe out and forget about her,” Leo McCarthy said.

Mariah and her two friends were hit while walking along Blacktail Lane Oct. 28th, 2007. Leo started Mariah’s Challenge in the wake of the tragedy to encourage teens not to drink and drive. It grew into a nationally known movement against underage drinking.

“But I think what we’ve done, Butte stepped up and said ‘let’s do something about this.’ It’s well known around the world, CNN, People Magazine and it’s designed to help and what it is, is just bringing back the kitchen table discussion,” McCarthy said.

The program has given out $300,000 in scholarships to students who have taken the challenge. A legacy to a young girl whose life was taken away too soon.

“I remember her has just a fun-loving Butte gal and that’s what we’ll always remember her and she’ll always be forever 14, but what’s coming out of this is hopefully we’re helping generations one youth at a time,” McCarthy said.

Right after I interviewed Leo he went back to his truck; on the radio was the song “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat. That was the last song Mariah uploaded to her playlist just before she died. To Leo, that’s a sign she’s still watching over him

The 4th annual Light Up Mariah Fun Run will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Butte Country Club. Cost is $25 for adults and $15 for kids.

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