Zionsville mom educates teens about alcohol & drugs after daughter’s death

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4 Fast Facts

  • Mother of Rachael Fiege reaches out to other students to encourage them to make smart decisions
  • Rachael died after a party at IU during her freshman year
  • She fell and suffered a traumatic brain injury
  • Her mother is keeping her daughter's legacy alive with "Rachael's First Week"

ZIONSVILLE -   The school year is wrapping up across central Indiana, and that means for thousands of seniors, they’ll be on their own next year in college.

A Zionsville mom is working to keep them safe after losing her own daughter.

“It was right at the beginning of school, welcome week at IU,” recalled Angi Fiege of that day in 2013 when her daughter, Rachael, passed away.

“She was at this off campus party and fell down a flight of stairs and hit her head,” said Fiege.

Fiege said Rachael’s friends just told her to lie down.

“When they went to check on her in the morning she was not breathing.  She was blue,” said Fiege.

“She ended up dying because of her traumatic brain injury.”

Fiege said she learned there was alcohol at the party, but no one ever had any ill will or thought something tragic would come of their fun.

“It’s hard to know to go visit her I have to go to her grave.”

Instead of blaming others for Rachael’s death, Fiege took a proactive route.

“That kind of inspired me to launch this program,” said Fiege.

Rachael’s First Week was born.  Fiege used her medical community connections and worked with Rachael’s friends to visit college campuses.  This time of year, she also goes to high schools where seniors are about to graduate.

“We try to identify behaviors that we need to attack to prevent these things from happening, like driving your drunk friend to the hospital.  No you call an ambulance,” said Fiege.

Common misconceptions and myths about drinking and drugs are put right in the faces of students.  They also learn about Indiana’s Lifeline Law.

“It provides immunity for somebody that’s going to call on behalf of an individual or victim,” explained Fiege.

About 5,000 students have gone through the program in three years, handing out these holders where students can put an ID or some cash.  Angi hopes to reach even more.

“The college and university is not your parents.  So really you have each other,” said Fiege.

There’s no money to be made by Angi Fiege.  This is just her mission to protect students.

She also is working on a parent program so that they understand the risky behaviors their children might take part in.

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