A somber crowd of approximately 200 gathered at the Price River Parkway Trail on Saturday to celebrate the life of Shaniel Oliver Donaldson. As a way to also raise awareness for domestic violence prevention, the Walk for Shaniel- Taking Steps to End Domestic Violence event was organized by the family of Shaniel Oliver Donaldson. She was killed in an act of domestic violence earlier this year.
“We want people to realize the implications of how far reaching the issue of domestic violence is,” explained Shaniel’s mother, Carol Daniels. “Before, I always thought of it (domestic violence) as something that happened to others. It would never happen to us, it was someone else’s story. It was so far removed from my life and life as I knew it.”
Now she and the family are speaking out in order to try and prevent this from happening in any other family. They understand that in order to help, the community must be aware and willing to reach out to help both the victims and the perpetrators seek the help they need. The pain the family has gone through is still raw and evident as they reach out to help others.
Several family members took a few minutes to address the crowd before the walk. Tears flowed as a poem written by Donaldson’s oldest child was read aloud by Shaniel’s sister Amie Sorenson. She was supported by her sisters Audry Meecham, Kelsey Bywater, and Michelle Priano. Her father Greg Oliver and Carol Daniels also took a few minutes to speak.
The pre-walk ceremonies culminated with 100 balloons being released before the crowd headed up the trail for the event. T-shirts and purple wristbands were sold at the walk. Proceeds from the sales were donated to the Colleen Quigley Women’s Shelter in Price.
The family has made a Facebook page to chronicle Shaniel’s life and to bring awareness of the harmful and lasting effects of domestic Violence.
For more information about this go to https://facebook.com/shanielstory