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‘It keeps me going’: Charlotte teen starts foundation to honor twin sister killed in a car crash

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 5:03 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Less than a year after losing her twin sister in a car crash, Charlotte teenager Mallory Stokes started a foundation in her sister’s name.

It is no exaggeration to say Mia and Mallory Stokes did everything together. Most notably, playing softball at Lincoln Charter High School and briefly at USC Union. But the Stokes twins’ college softball career was cut short in February of 2020.

South Carolina State Highway Patrol responded to a head-on crash in Spartanburg County. Mia Stokes and her teammate Grace Revels, of Lancaster, S.C., were killed in the crash. Mallory Stokes and another teammate, Devyn Royce, survived.

Troopers accused the man driving the car that hit them, Yuriy Karpik, for driving under the influence.

Mallory Stokes says life without her twin sister has not been easy.

“It’s really hard to wake up everyday and continue life without her because I’ve never had to,” Stokes said.

Since the crash, Mallory has stayed close to her parents. She no longer attends USC Union but plans to take online courses at Central Piedmont Community College in the fall. She doesn’t anticipate playing softball again.

“I probably won’t be back on the field. It’s hard to even think about going without Mia. We’ve always been on the same teams. I’ve never taken the field or the court without her,” Mallory said.

In August of 2021, Mallory decided to start the Mia Stokes Foundation. The foundation raises money for families in need and organizations that help others. Since its inception, the Mia Stokes Foundation has donated money to seven families and three organizations including Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“I think the main thing is we don’t want her to be forgotten,” Mallory said.

When thinking of ideas to raise money for the foundation, Mallory thought of the God goal her sister set for herself about a month before Mia died. Mallory says Mia’s goal was to tell as many people as she could about Jesus.

“We had gotten a shirt and I was looking at it and was like ‘we could easily use Mia’s handwriting and help her reach her God goal even though she’s not here’,” Mallory said.

Using Mia’s handwritten notes, they created t-shirts in Mia’s handwriting that shared messages of Jesus. So far, they say they’ve sold more than 3,000 t-shirts. Mallory says they’ve sent shirts to people in all 50 states.

Not only has the foundation helped keep her sister’s legacy alive, Mallory says it has helped her move on without Mia.

“I don’t do much still. It’s hard to do stuff without Mia. But this keeps me going,” Mallory said.

Mallory says her family was grateful for the outpouring of support they received from the community in their time of need. The Mia Stokes Foundation is her way of paying it forward.

Mallory says her goal is to help other families who lost loved ones to drunk driving. The Stokes family contacted WBTV after watching a story shared about a man who lost his life in a crash allegedly caused by a drunk driver.

WBTV shared the story of 55-year-old Bobby Black. He and his wife were hit head-on while driving on I-85. Bobby Black died but his wife Karen Black survived. The Stokes have offered their support to the Blacks through the Mia Stokes Foundation.

For more information on The Mia Stokes Foundation click here: https://miastokesfoundation.org/

The man accused of driving drunk and crashing into the Stokes’ car is in the Spartanburg County Detention Center awaiting trial.

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