Every time Anne Sterling gets behind the wheel, she stays focused on the road and her surroundings.
“I have post-concussion syndrome,” Anne said. “It’s from a lifetime of concussions.”
Anne said it goes back to her childhood when a neighbor hit her as she was exiting a school bus. She flew into a frozen ditch. The neighbor ran over and said she did not see her.
Another car crash a few years ago reminded Anne of her childhood trauma. She was on her sister’s porch every morning, recuperating.
“As I sat there,” Anne said, “the kids were across the street in the dark and it drove me crazy.”
That is when Anne had the idea to turn her pain into a profession. She makes backpack reflectors that come in all shapes and sizes. She said it frustrates her when people are walking along the side of the street and drivers will only see the person when right upon them.
On Thursday, in honor of Layla Aiken, who died from a hit-and-run crash in March, Anne drove seven hours to give the 8-year-old’s classmates reflectors for free. She gave out over 100 reflectors.
Anne is worried about the other kids in the area, grieving the loss of a classmate while also fearful of becoming the next victim.
WINK News caught up with Layla’s mother, Kathleen Aiken, at a back-to-school event. Her mother told us she is blown away that so many people are still fighting for Layla’s cause.
“To be honest, Layla was so young and her life was so short,” Kathleen said. “I thought it might get swept under the carpet rather quickly.”
For Anne, it is simple. Her goal is to say lives, even if it is only one child. It is why she works everyday shining a light on bus stop safety.
“It would make everything worthwhile,” Anne said. “Everything from getting hit, you know, getting off that bus to now.”