Mary McNally is planning for a big day of death, grieving friends and heartbreak. But, no one has even died yet.

No, she isn't particularly morbid. It's all a part of the national Every 15 Minutes program.

McNally is coordinating Antioch High School's event, but is in desperate need of donations, support and money. It will be held April 24 and 25.

According to the website, the program "offers real-life experience without the real-life risks. ... designed to dramatically instill teenagers with the potentially dangerous consequences of drinking alcohol and texting while driving."

Antioch High has been promoting the emotionally gripping presentation since about 2002.

With announcements of "fatal" student accidents and an array of emergency crews on hand to set the serious tone, more than 120 folks are involved.

McNally feels Every 15 Minutes offers the students some lifesaving and vital information.

"I really pour my heart and soul into this."

Heart, soul -- and a whole lot of time. The planning takes nearly seven months and about $13,000.

But, this time, a shortfall is troubling McNally, who's about $2,500 shy of budget. So, she's hoping the community will step up to help.

The monetary donations help with lunch for the dedicated volunteers, T-shirts for helpers, supplies for such items as tombstones and obituary boards, refreshments and more.

So committed to the cause, some graduates are returning to help.

"It's nice to know that these young people believe it really makes a difference," said McNally, who considered canceling it this year. "I just cannot say no to these kids. They take pride in it."

One of the main messages she highlights is "the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved."

She thinks the two-day event provides an enormous amount of solid safety information.

"We tell these kids they are not invisible. It could happen to anyone," she said. "This is why it is so important to me ... If this work saves at least one life or affects a handful of students, which I truly believe it does, (it's worth it)."

McNally's two children graduated from AHS, and she is alum as well. "I wish they had this when I was in school."

The deadline to receive donations is March 28. For more information about the program, visit www.every15minutes.com/. Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at Antioch High, 700 W. 18th St., Antioch, CA 94509, c/o of Every 15 Minutes. For more information on how to help and/or donate, email marymcnally16@yahoo.com or call 925-550-5191.

To HELP
Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at Antioch High, 700 W. 18th St., Antioch, CA 94509, c/o of Every 15 Minutes. For more information on how to help and/or donate, email marymcnally16@yahoo.com or call 925-550-5191.