Every December, Issam and Rima Abbas and their children, Ali, Isabella and Giselle, piled presents into a red wagon and set out through their Northville,
Michigan neighborhood. They’d begun the annual holiday tradition by handing out gifts to six neighbors. By Christmas 2018, the family’s last, the number had grown to 18. “It’s nice to see how much a small gesture breaks down barriers,” Issam told his family. This was how the Abbas family lived their lives. Spreading peace and goodwill one act of kindness and humanity at a time. On Jan. 6, 2019, Issam, Rima, Ali, Isabella and Giselle were traveling home from a family vacation in Florida when a wrong-way drunk driver in Kentucky struck their vehicle, killing all five of them. Less than one year after that incomprehensible loss, their family – Rima’s sister, Rana Taylor, and her husband, Tom, along with Issam’s sister, Megan Abbas and her son, William – joined lawmakers on Capitol Hill to fight for federal legislation that would prevent a drunk driver from operating a vehicle. The Honoring the Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate (HALT) Drunk Driving Act by Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan and the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019 (RIDE Act) by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and Senator Rick Scott of Florida, would mandate advanced alcohol detection technology in all new vehicles and save 7,000 lives a year.
mother, wife and family medicine physician who devoted her talents to caring for others and advocating for those who couldn’t advocate for themselves. She believed that acts of love could heal and inspire. Issam Abbas, 42, was a dedicated husband, father, uncle and friend who taught and led others by the way he lived. A successful attorney for many years, he had a passion for justice and deep commitment to making the world more fair and equitable. Their first-born, “AJ,” inherited his parents’ compassion and strong sense of fairness. At 13, he was an old soul, a deep thinker and quiet contemplator who loved to read and excelled at sports. “Athletic and geeky,” he once said of himself. “Izzy,” 12, came next, and was most like her mother, gentle, sensitive and soft-spoken. She was the first to volunteer to help someone in need or make a new student feel welcome. She loved animals, especially her two cats, Stella and Wilson, and enjoyed spreading joy through baking. “Jazz,” 7, was the youngest of the Abbas children but packed the biggest personality, bringing happiness to any room she entered with her huge smile and special brand of goofiness. She loved being surrounded by family and friends. All of them believed in leaving the world a better place than they found it. This is their enduring legacy. MADD dedicates the 2019 Campaign Report to Issam, Rima, AJ, Izzy and Jazz, to the entire Abbas family, and to all the victims of the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving.
It would ensure what happened to the Abbas family never happens to anyone else.
Dr. Rima Abbas, 38, was a loving and beloved
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