More than four months after the death of a Danville-born woman who was hit by a truck while bicycling to work in Washington D.C., friends, family and former rowing teammates are continuing efforts to memorialize the late 40-year-old.
Shawn O'Donnell's death on July 20 was the catalyst for her former teammates on the University of California, Berkeley rowing team to reunite and reconnect with one another, which ultimately culminated in the "Shawn's Boat" fundraising effort.
"Our goal is to raise $50,000 by Jan. 1, 2023 so that an eight-person rowing shell can be purchased, dedicated in Shawn's name, and raced this spring season by the women of Cal rowing," organizers wrote on the fundraiser's webpage.
As of Nov. 28, the reunited team was well past the halfway point of that goal -- at $31,480.
In addition to commemorating O'Donnell through a boat bearing her name, her former teammates are raising funds to enable the current high-ranking women's crew team at UC Berkeley to use it for a spring race.
"This racing shell will keep Shawn's memory alive; and those strong, fierce, and athletic women who will compete in this shell, which bears her name, will get to know Shawn and the woman she was," O'Donnell's stepfather, Claes Elfving, said.
Friends and family emphasized O'Donnell's passion for her time as a rower, as well as for other outdoor sports and travel opportunities.
"Shawn loved nothing more than to travel, explore, and spend time with her family and friends," Shawn's Boat organizers said. "She especially treasured her time spent as a Cal Crew rower."
In addition to the online fundraiser, Shawn's Boat organizers are hosting a dinner in O'Donnell's memory at Gianni's Italian Bistro at 2065 San Ramon Valley Blvd. on Dec. 19. More information on Shawn's Boat is available at shawnsboat.com. The dinner will be part of the restaurant's Tips for Change events every Monday night, in which all tips and 10% of sales go toward a local volunteer organization.