12/03/2016 16:41 EST | Updated 12/04/2017 00:12 EST

'Our holidays are never the same': family of Nick Coates warns against impaired driving

Members of MADD Avalon kicked off the Project Red Ribbon, a national awareness campaign that runs during the holiday season, at the Avalon Mall on Saturday. 

"It's 100% preventable, so we want people to realize that our lives have drastically changed," said Patricia Hynes-Coates, step-mother of Nicholas Coates, who was killed by a drunk driver. 

It's the 29th verision of Project Red Ribbon, and Hynes-Coates, along with Nick's father Terry Coates, were there with the hopes their story will impact people who choose to drive while impaired. 

  • 'It can happen to any of us': MADD hosts Nick Coates memorial car show

"We are not here to pass comment on what you did yesterday, we are here to ask you to not drink and drive. Our lives are completely changed. Our holidays are never the same," said Hynes-Coates. 

27-year-old Nick Coates was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by the driver of a pickup truck in August of 2013. Coates later died from his injuries.

The driver of the truck, Ron Thistle, was sentenced for impaired driving causing death.

  • Ronald Thistle released from jail more than 2 years after Nick Coates's death
  • 'Does he realize what he has done?': Nick Coates's family torn apart by Ronald Thistle's release

As Mothers Against Drunk Driving national president, Hynes-Coates works to promote the anti-impaired driving message year 'round — but said it's especially important this time of year. 

"Unfortunately in Newfoundland and Labrador we tend to associate alcohol with going out and having a good time," she told CBC News.

"We are not here to tell you not to consume alcohol, we are asking you not to drive while you are impaired by drugs and alcohol."