Father keeps his daughter’s memory alive three years after crash

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LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) – A father’s mission to keep his daughter’s memory and spirit alive continues this weekend.

Dozens of runners hit the pavement at Lincoln Woods State Park on Saturday, in memory of Shannon Heil, who died in a car accident three years ago.

Her father, Brian, founded the “Fierce for Shannon” foundation after her death in order to provide scholarships for students. He also plans to expand the program to include a mentoring network.

Saturday was the second annual “Fierce 5k,” which was run in the rain at Lincoln Woods.

“It just shows the impact that Shannon had on people’s lives,” Brian said of the large crowed that defied the elements to participate.

“If we have more joy in our life, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or pouring, it’s all going to be fine and we’re all going to have a good time,” Brian said. “And that’s what Shannon was about. Shannon enjoyed life. In 18 years she compressed to much fun and so much joy into her life.”

Brian Heil vividly recalls seeing the mangled vehicle on Route 102 in Burrillville which Shannon and her friend Markell Torres were driving at the time of the crash. But he chooses not to let that memory control his life.

“I don’t have a choice,” he said. “There’s no choice. I can’t change the outcome. I can’t change anything about it but I can change how I respond to it.”

More information on the foundation is available on the Fierce for Shannon website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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