Fort Wayne Mother To Appear on Oprah

By Brien McElhatten

June 18, 2010 Updated Apr 29, 2010 at 3:55 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A Summit City woman will share her story of loss and hope on Oprah Winfrey's couch.

Diveeta Thompson, her daughter and a friend were picked up by a private driver Thursday morning, for a three-hour drive to the Windy City.

"It's total exhilaration, but it's bittersweet," said Thompson as she packed her last bags for the trip.

Thompson will appear on the Oprah Winfrey show Friday to tell the country about the tragic loss of her son, Rodney.

Rodney was killed in October of 2008, after the car he was driving hit a utility pole. Police say he was distracted by a text message. Since then, Diveeta Thompson has been the face of Parkview Health's "Don't Text While Driving" Campaign.

"For many years, we had a helmet campaign, don't drink and drive. Now, with the texting, we have a whole new problem," explained Dr. Mary Aalland, Medical Director of Trauma Services at Parkview Hospital.

"We have seen not only individuals killed from texting and driving, but also individuals mutilated," Aaland continued.

Parkview Health's campaign, which is nearly two years old, is aimed at young people. For them, the number one cause of death is trauma. Many of those deaths are automobile accidents.

Now, Oprah Winfrey is jumping on the no texting bandwagon with her campaign entitled "No Phone Zone." It's designed to call national attention to distracted driving.

That's where Diveeta Thompson comes in.

In February was invited to be part of Oprah's No Phone Zone special, after her friend secretly contacted Oprah's team late last year. Now as she prepares for her national debut, Thompson is looking to turn a personal tragedy into a mission of hope.

"The Wednesday after my son's death, I found myself praying and asking God to please not allow my son's death to be in vain, to make something positive out of the excruciating pain my family and myself were experiencing. I'm wanting to get the message across that texting and driving and distracted driving can result in very devastating consequences," she said.

You can watch Thompson on The Oprah Winfrey Show Friday at 4pm on 21 Alive.

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