LIVE: Fierce for Shannon Foundation Keeps Local Girl’s Fighting Spirit Alive

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


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July 11 marks five years since Shannon Heil died in a car accident, but the day will not be one of sadness and inaction for her father, Brian Heil.

Founder of the organization Fierce for Shannon, Heil has dedicated his life to preserving the memory of his daughter through acts of goodwill and humanity. Along with awarding annual scholarships, the organization focuses on paying it forward, committing small acts of charity in the hopes of inspiring people and creating good in the world, called the Share for Shannon movement.

“Shannon wouldn’t want me to sit around and be sad,” Heil said. “She’d be really angry about that. I’m just doing what she would have done.”

At noon on July 11, Heil calls for everyone who is willing to do something small for another person. The act can be anything, from spending time with an elderly person in a nursing home to buying a coffee for the person behind you in line. Participants are encouraged to use Share for Shannon “coupons,” which tell Shannon’s story and challenge the recipient to continue the chain by paying it forward for someone else. The goal of the day is to create a “fierce mob,” a play on a flash mob.

Heil says he would love for one day someone to do an act of kindness for him, handing back a Share for Shannon coupon.

“I don’t care if it’s dirty, crumpled and covered it tape,” he said. “That would only show that it’s traveled and touched the lives of so many people.”

The fourth annual Fierce for Shannon Running Festival will be held on August 26 at Quonset Point. In years past, the race was held in the Lincoln woods in April, but Heil decided to move the date to summer after years of rain, snow, and cold temperatures. This year’s event will feature 5k, 10k, and 10-mile events, and will raise money for the organization's scholarships and grants.

Also available on the website is a 13-minute documentary that tells Shannon’s and the foundation’s story. The film has been screened at over a dozen film festivals and has won several awards, but Heil says that isn’t what matters most to him, instead it’s knowing that so many people heard Shannon’s story and were inspired by her message.

Above all, Heil hopes his message inspires people to simply be more kind to others.

“You never know what someone’s going through or how your small act could change their lives,” he said.

More information on the Fierce for Shannon Foundation, run, Fierce Mob, or any other events run through the foundation can be found on their website.


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