Deana Blanchard

Died in a road traffic collision: 9 October 2003

By building a pedestrian tunnel we hope to save lives and, in my dreams, to see my Deana, my Angel of the Nile, looking down upon us and smiling in approval.
David Blanchard, father of the victim

My daughter Deana was 17 years old when her life was cut short. The accident occurred on 9 October 2003, at 22:30. Deana was with four friends going to a birthday party. They had just gotten out of a taxi and were trying to cross the Nile Corniche in Maadi. The taxi driver had let them off on the wrong side of an extremely busy street. The traffic is heavy and chaotic. There are no traffic lights, no crosswalks: just a constant stream of speeding and weaving cars, trucks and buses. There is really nowhere to cross. You have to dart across several lanes of traffic to get to the other side. Deana was hit and killed by a speeding bus as she tried to cross the road. The bus driver didn’t even slow down.

I was travelling for my work at the time. My brother-in-law called me to give me the terrible news. You can imagine my guilt. I should have been in Cairo. I could have driven her to the party.

Deana was beautiful. She had an infectious smile. She always had time for other people, more than for herself. She had so many friends I could not count them all. She enjoyed life so much. She loved spending time with and mentoring her friends, doing sports, reading, playing piano, and travelling. She loved life. Deana had a special love of angels. She always had pictures or figurines of angels in her room. For us she has become “the Angel of the Nile.”

Many of her friends still stay in touch with us. Everyone was deeply affected by her death: her family, her friends, the entire community, even people we didn’t know. Our son Derek is three years younger than Deana. He is 17 now. He doesn’t like to talk about Deana’s accident, because it upsets him. He won’t talk about it unless we do it first.

Every day I drive to my office along the Cornice, passing by the section of the road where hundreds, if not thousands, of pedestrians cross from the ferry to work or school in Maadi. Every day I see men, women and children dashing and weaving through a blurred maze of cars, buses and trucks and I hold my breath praying that the speeding steel does not end another life.

A fund was started in Deana’s name at her school and every year a graduating senior who smiles and brings light to other students’ day is awarded a helping hand. One of our friends ran the New York Marathon in December 2003 and raised US$ 25 000 from private donors for the scholarship fund.

We started the Safe Road Society because our daughter lost her life. It is dedicated to making roads in Egypt safer for citizens. Our first project is the building of a pedestrian tunnel under the Maadi Corniche El Nile. This busy road of death runs alongside the serenity of the Nile, for millions the giver of life. Many Egyptians and foreigners have joined hands to make the tunnel a reality. With private donations from individuals and corporations across the world we can save precious lives. By building a pedestrian tunnel we hope to save lives and, in my dreams, to see my Deana, my Angel of the Nile, looking down upon us and smiling in approval.

David Blanchard, father of the victim

Simple low-cost engineering measures which take into account the needs of all road users could save many thousands of lives every year.

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Deana Blanchard
Deana Blanchard