RIVER FALLS, Wis. - Jessica Schaffhausen says she was absolutely blown away by the outpouring of support that was shown during Saturday's Tri-Angels 5K run at Hoffman Park in River Falls.
More than 1,200 participants raised more than $48,000 in profits on Saturday.
"We'll do anything we can to continue honoring the girls," one participant said.
Another added, "They'll always be remembered. They'll never be forgotten."
Honored on Saturday were Amara, Sophie and Cecilia Schaffhausen. Three young girls killed by their father in their River Falls home last July.
Aaron Schaffhausen was sentenced to life in prison on three counts of homicide this week. He will not be eligible for parole.
As much as the court process and tragic story have weighed on everyone, Saturday's race showed a community coming together.
"I decided early on that I was going to do my best to survive this," Jessica Schaffhausen said. "Every day I make the decision to focus on the happy memories, the love, the support, those things and not allow myself to not get too pulled down into the pit of hate and anger."
Schaffhausen said she feels those emotions, but her thoughts continue to reflect that of a mother trying to do what's best for her family.
"It's just that I try to focus on what I would want my girls to do if I had not survived and they had," she explained.
On Saturday, each mile of the race was marked with a photo of the girls. Their favorite songs played as runners crossed the finish line. The goal is simple; remember the girls and help bring the community together.
A mother in mourning says the day was filled with mixed emotions.
"I really miss the girls," Jessica Schaffhausen said. "I don't think that's ever going away. That's something I'm just learning to live with. It's definitely a relief to have the court process done with so now I can just focus on honoring my girls everyday with everything I do."
Money raised on Saturday will go toward the building of a Tri-Angles Playground in memory of the Schaffhausen girls.
The playground is expected to cost $500,000 to build. There will be an art show featuring pieces made by the Schaffhausen girls in August.
To donate to the playground visit Unlimitedplay.org.
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