Tag Archives: AnnaLeah

AnnaLeah & Mary: With Their Sister’s Wedding Dress, Allison’s Angel Gowns Sewed A Dress For A Baby Who Never Made It Home

Allison’s Angel Gowns takes donated wedding dresses and creates outfits for babies who don’t go home from the hospital. I just received a message that Deb has taken the wedding dress which I sewed for Rebekah Karth Chojnacki in 2013 and made this beautiful little dress.

This is the message which the seamstress sent to me:

I’m sorry to be invading your FB page but I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to create angel gowns in honor of your beautiful daughters. I need to apologize for the delay, You see, your dress touched me in ways I never expected. I know the pain of losing adult children and I had a hard time getting past my own grief when I worked with your dress which was the very reason I jumped at the chance to sew for you. I think of you every time I sit at my machine. I wish you and your family peace Friend of the heart, Deb

I am a truck crash survivor & mom (of two who died) on a mission to make truck crashes more survivable!

I am the survivor of a terrible truck crash. I am the mom of two daughters who did not survive. The difference? Their part of the car went under the truck; mine did not.

In the aftermath, I found out that the rear underride guard could have been made stronger to withstand the crash so that AnnaLeah and Mary might — like me — have been survivors of a terrible truck crash. I learned that, if effective underride protection was installed on trucks, we could save hundreds of people who die every year when a truck enters their occupant space. So now, I am a mom on a mission to make truck crashes more survivable.

View some of the thousands of tragic Underride Stories at the Interactive Underride Crash Map

How did it come about? In October 2012, Jerry and I moved to North Carolina with the three youngest of our nine children. Four of the nine were going to college in Texas. When they all came home for Christmas break, we got the news that our oldest daughter, Rebekah, had just gotten engaged. We planned a big trip to Texas in May for the celebration of a wedding, four college graduations, and two family birthdays (AnnaLeah turning 18 & Vanessa turning 4).

Mary baked a seven-layer engagement cake to surprise Rebekah when she arrived for the holiday. Rebekah asked me to sew her wedding dress and we shopped for a pattern and material. In the ensuing months, Mary (13) served as a model for her sister’s wedding dress, and AnnaLeah sewed a little bride’s dress for a surprise birthday present for Vanessa.

On May 4, 2013, we packed our Crown Vic and headed for Texas. But the trip did not go as planned and it turned out to be AnnaLeah’s and Mary’s last journey they would make on this earth. We came upon slowed traffic on I-20 in Georgia (from a fatal crash two miles ahead, two hours earlier). We slowed down, but a truck driver did not — hitting our car and sending it into a spin so that the car went backward into the tractor-trailer ahead of us. The rear underride guard failed to withstand the crash and the back of the car went under the trailer.

AnnaLeah and Mary were in the backseat. AnnaLeah died at the scene and Mary a few days later from her very serious injuries.

In the four years following that day, we have been working hard to turn tragedy into advocacy — including the drafting of the STOP Underrides! Bill soon to be introduced in the U.S. Congress to mandate the installation of technology to end these preventable tragedies.

In memory of Roya, AnnaLeah, and Mary (and countless others!), let’s pass comprehensive underride protection legislation in order to STOP every kind of Underride tragedy!

More memories of Roya, AnnaLeah, & Mary — our precious ones, gone too soon: The Naming of an Underride Bill; Out of the Mouths of Babes

Stay tuned to HOW YOU CAN HELP get this bill passed once it is introduced in the near future (within three weeks).

Sign & Share the STOP Underrides! Bill Petition here: Congress, Act Now To End Deadly Truck Underride!.

AnnaLeah’s Very-Thorough 30-Category Booklist

Minolta DSC

Serendipity…I was looking for something and found something else. I was looking for a photo and found a list which AnnaLeah had made—probably in the last year or so of her life. (I found the photo later.)

Actually, she made lots of lists. With this one, it seemed that she wanted to make a reader think about all of the books which they had read and decide which ones fit into 30 different categories of books that “you” had read.

Clearly, reading books was very important to her. She also liked to talk about them whenever possible. So, how would you have responded if AnnaLeah had given this list to you?

1. Best book you read last year
2. A book you’ve read more than three times
3. Your favorite series
4. A guilty pleasure book
5. A book that makes you happy
6. A book that makes you sad
7. Most underrated
8. Most overrated
9. A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
10. Favorite classic book
11. A book you hated
12. The first novel you remember reading
13. Your favorite writer
14. Favorite book of your favorite writer
15. Book that should be on high school/college required reading list
16. Book that you would recommend to ignorant/close-minded/racist person
17. Favorite quote from your favorite book
18. A book that disappointed you
19. Favorite book turned into a movie
20. Book turned into a movie and completely desecrated
21. Favorite book from your childhood
22. The book that made you fall in love with reading
23. A book you’ve wanted to read for a long time but haven’t
24. A book that you wish more people would’ve read
25. A character you can relate to the most
26. A book that changed your opinion about something
27. Most surprising plot twist or ending
28. Favorite title
29. A book that makes you cry
30. Your favorite book of all time

AnnaLeah had answered 6 of her questions. I wonder if she could have answered them all but just didn’t write down her answers. I wonder what she would have written.

Here is a printable pdf of AnnaLeah’s Booklist–in case you want to take up AnnaLeah’s Challenge:  AnnaLeah’s 30 Category Booklist

AnnaLeah writing

Why Are We Writing About Truck Safety Advocacy?

Why are we writing about truck safety advocacy? Because we miss AnnaLeah and Mary so much and would like to help make sure that other families are not devastated the way we were.

According to the traffic crash report, on May 4, 2013, our Crown Victoria car was hit by one truck, spun around, hit again by that same truck, and then pushed backwards into the back of another truck. So the rear of our car went under the truck resulting in the deaths of AnnaLeah and Mary, who were in the back seat.

If the standards for underride guards for truck trailers had been strengthened and enforced, then AnnaLeah and Mary might have come home from the hospital with Caleb and me. Maybe not. And nothing will change our circumstances; we will never see them again in this life (so we wait eagerly for the life to come). But certainly, someone else could be spared this grief and untimely death–because we know there is a better design out there.

To get a better understanding of the inadequacy of the current federal regulations for underride guards, please watch these short videos:



Encouraging Words

It is so good to see how people are responding and signing our petition for truck safety. And it is encouraging to read all of the Comments on ThePetitionSite. People care. People are supporting our efforts to improve the safety of travelers on the roads. And, unfortunately, many people have seen the problems firsthand.

I hope to look back at this time in years to come and think: together we made a difference.

AnnaLeah, Mary at Muskegon

(Photo courtesy http://www.thekarths.com/)

Meet AnnaLeah & Mary


Mary and AnnaLeah at Battle Park, Rocky Mount, NC
Mary and AnnaLeah at Battle Park, Rocky Mount, NC

On May 4, 2013, AnnaLeah and Mary Karth were in a truck-related car accident. AnnaLeah died at the scene of the accident. Mary died a few days later due to her injuries.

This website is dedicated to preventing more deaths in truck-related accidents from happening. Specifically, the Karth family is working to raise awareness about three issues related to truck safety: minimum liability insurance levels, driver fatigue, and underride guards. More information can be found on the pages specific to those issues.

The family has also created a Facebook memorial page where they share memories, photos, and videos of the girls.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/In-Memory-of-AnnaLeah-1995-to-2013-and-Mary-Lydia-Karth-1999-to-2013/464993830249803

And the Facebook posts from the first few years after the crash can be accessed in chronological order through our Journey Through Grief Page on this website: Journey Through Grief.

AnnaLeah, full of peace, forever 17, and Mary, full of joy, forever 13.  We are thankful for  the years that we had them in our lives. We know that, by faith, they believed in Jesus as their Savior & Lord. And because of that, we have the sure hope that we will see them again—and be with them forever.