The Archie Graham Community Centre lit up yellow to show support for a mother unable to hold her son after his life was tragically cut short in a car accident.
It also lit up for a 15-year-old girl whose dream to work in health care was shattered following a motor vehicle accident that left her with an acquired brain injury.
And it lit up for a man whose motorbike was struck by a car that failed to give way at a Warrnambool round-about, leaving him with a permanent disability.
These are some of the stories told by a small group of volunteers at road trauma awareness seminars held in Portland and Warrnambool.
Their bravery was acknowledged when Warrnambool's Archie Graham Community Centre was illuminated yellow on Friday to mark Global Road Safety Week.
The seminars are delivered by Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) in conjunction with the Magistrates Court to traffic offenders as part of sentencing options.
You get 55-year-old truck drivers that have watched their best mate die in an accident, that have never sought proper help. Sometimes it takes years before people open up to counselling.RTSSV regional coordinator Rhys Tate
Road Trauma Support Services Victoria (RTSSV) regional coordinator Rhys Tate said human narratives had a much bigger impact than statistics.
"I've never been to a session where at the end of those stories being told, someone hasn't immediately apologised for their behaviour or expressed some measure of remorse or empathy," he said.
"We have people whose lives have been turned upside. They've lost a loved one or they've lost their independence, their job or their sense of direction as a result of road trauma.
"It sounds so cliche, but it doesn't matter how many times I hear their stories, they are always as gut-wrenching as the first time I heard them. You feed off the reactions of those hearing it for the first time, and it is quite overwhelming."
Mr Tate said for every victim of serious road trauma leading to permanent disability or death, more than 20 people were affected.
"Especially in a small community like Warrnambool," he said.
"And a lot of people tend to bury it. They put it into a little mental bucket and it festers away in their minds. But most forms of trauma will begin to resurface at one point. It can't be ignored because it doesn't go away."
Every year, RTSSV conducts more than 2000 face-to-face and telephone counselling session.
But Mr Tate said victim's don't always confront their problems head-on.
"It's very easy to to turn to self-medicating as a way to deal with trauma, but that's when things become problematic," he said.
"All too often I see people who have been carrying around their baggage for years. You get 55-year-old truck drivers that have watched their best mate die in an accident, that have never sought proper help. Sometimes it takes years before people open up to counselling."
The free counselling sessions are confidential and unlimited for anyone affected by a collision on the roads.
Mr Tate said RTSSV was not-for-profit group that was largely funded through donations.
"We also receive a grant from TAC. We have a tight budget but a wide effect on the community."
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