Business student honors friend’s death with fundraiser for service

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Business student honors friend’s death with fundraiser for service

by Jamie Ballard, News Editor

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Shauna Haynes was described as “always caring, always giving, someone who always wanted to make sure you were having a good day.” This description comes from Kelsea Lake, business junior and Haynes’ former co-worker at The Old Spaghetti Factory.

“It’s been said a lot by a lot of different people, but she was a person whose smile would light up a room,” Lake said. “She would just run and jump on co-workers to give them the biggest hug.”

Lake, along with many of Haynes’ friends and family, was shocked to hear Haynes had been identified as the victim of a homicide earlier this month.

She was found on April 6, and the suspect has been arrested and is awaiting trial.

“It sunk in, and I was like ‘How do you even deal with this?’” Lake said. “You don’t see something like this in real life, to someone you know.”

After talking to several other employees who had worked with Haynes at The Old Spaghetti Factory, Lake decided the best thing she could do was find a way to help. She started the Shauna Haynes Service Fundraiser through GoFundMe.

As of this writing, $7,325 has been raised in honor of Haynes. The money will go to her family to assist with various expenses, such as a memorial service. Lake said the family has not yet made any decisions on exactly what to do, but the funds are available when they decide.

“Obviously money doesn’t fix everything, she still won’t be with us anymore, and this horrible thing still happened,” Lake said. “But I think not having to worry about the financial aspect will help.”

The average cost of a funeral service is between $8,000 and $10,000, and that doesn’t necessarily include other expenses such as providing food for the service or paying travel expenses for family members to attend the service.

Lake said her primary goal of the fundraiser is for Haynes’ family to have the means to honor her in a peaceful way and create a legacy not centered on her death. To that end, she’s also working with Make a Wave, an organization which promotes acts of kindness in honor of a person or cause.

Make a Wave offers coins that read “This coin is on a voyage! This coin is one of a kind. Before rolling it forward, go to MakeaWave.com to see what this specific vessel represents.” Below the message is an identification number.

“So, say you’re behind me in line at Starbucks and I paid for your coffee,” Lake said. “I’d ask the barista to give you the coin, and then you would go to the website and type in the identification number, and Shauna’s page would come up. Then you could perform an act of kindness and pass the coin on to someone else.”

She plans to begin the coin’s journey by giving it to Haynes’ family.

“She would be ecstatic about something like this, her name living on in this way,” Lake said.

She shared memories of her “spunky” nature and “go-getter” attitude. She said while other co-workers occasionally griped, Haynes was always cheerful and volunteered to take on extra tasks.

The goal for the fundraiser is set at $15,000. Lake attributes some of the fundraiser’s success to her dedication to get the word out but also acknowledges the media has been helpful by mentioning it in articles pertaining to Haynes’ death and the subsequent trial process.

ABC News10 interviewed Lake on campus in a political science class taught by lecturer John Mercurio.

However, she also expressed frustration that many of the news outlets she’s spoken to focused on the more gruesome aspects of Haynes’ death and not the fundraiser itself.

“Sometimes, they take snippets of what you say and twist it into what they want it to say,” she said. “I’m just trying to raise money for her family to be able to honor her in a way where she’s remembered for something other than this … But fortunately, a lot of them have mentioned the GoFundMe.”

Lake has been contacted by both local stations as well as national outlets including CNN and Nancy Grace.

She’s staying firm in her commitment to only speak about the fundraiser and her memories of Shauna and not speak about the death.

“I don’t want to be highlighted or portrayed as someone who was very close,” she said. “We were friends at work. I didn’t know her for 15 years. I wasn’t really a close family friend. I was just touched enough by this to create the GoFundMe. I wanted to make a difference.”

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