Public Speaker Sarah Panzau with Speaking Matters, a speakers bureau

our speakers:

Sarah Panzau


  • It's Just Not Worth It: Drinking and Driving

Travels from: St. Louis, MO

In the early hours of August 23, 2003, 21-year old Sarah Panzau's life changed forever. She had partied the night away with her friends and, just before dawn, made an irrevocable decision to get into her car and drive home. After a harrowing car crash that left her clinging to life, with her left arm severed, toxicology tests revealed that she had a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit.

The crash was the culmination of Sarah's young life spiraling out of control. From an exceptional, award-winning volleyball player — at Southwestern Illinois College, Sarah won conference Freshman of the Year honors, was named to seven all-tournament teams, and was a two-time member of the National Junior College Athletic Association woman's volleyball All-America team — Sarah began hanging out with the "wrong crowd" and using drugs and alcohol.

As a result of her accident, Sarah now lives in constant pain, and has endured more than 30 surgeries in the past five years. Without her left arm, she has lost the ability to play volleyball, the sport she loved so much. But, more importantly, she has been given the gift of a second chance at life, and she is using it to educate young people about the hazards of underage drinking, and the risks of making bad decisions. Her story is truly about learning from one's mistakes and the resilience of the human spirit.