Charlene Reaveley is no longer with us, but her spirit resonates.
On Thursday, Aug. 8 at Haney Presbyterian Church, volunteers washed cars, collected bottles, and served food in support of a charity established in Charlene’s memory.
Proceeds from the first annual Charlene Reaveley Children’s Charity Society (CRCCS) car wash and bottle drive will provide ongoing support to children who have lost a loved one.
Siblings Kaeden, 13, Rebecca, nine, Alicia, seven, and Tristan, four, lost their mom in February 2011 when Charlene was killed in a hit and run that also claimed the life of Lorraine Cruz.
Cruz had been driving with her 28-year-old boyfriend in a Nissan Pathfinder just before 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2011 when the vehicle crashed at Lougheed Highway and Pitt River Road in Port Coquitlam.
The two got out of the car, and 30-year-old Charlene and her husband Dan stopped to help. As the four stood outside the Nissan at the PoCo intersection, a 1995 white Jeep Cherokee allegedly ran down both women.
They died instantly.
Cory Sater, the alleged driver of the vehicle that killed the two women, turned himself into police a day-and-a-half later.
Sater is facing 10 charges including two counts each of dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, and causing an accident resulting in death.
After many delays, the case is due in court this October, according to Charlene’s sister-in-law Jennifer Reaveley, whose husband Rob is Dan’s brother.
All the while, Charlene’s family is left to grieve a wife, mom, and daughter; a woman who by all accounts was a caring, gentle, giving person.
“We won’t ever be the same again,” Charlene’s mom Mary Ogilvie said. “All of our lives are broken. It’s like being in hell, every second. Nobody wants to be in our shoes.”
Charlene is remembered through the CRCCS, a charity that was started roughly four months after her death.
Through emotional and financial support, the CRCCS offers assistance to families with children experiencing the loss of a loved one.
The CRCCS offers connection to funding for certified grief counselling to families with children; immediate financial support to help cover the costs of everyday life; and information packages regarding the grieving process, including legal action papers that will need to be filed and handouts in assisting children coping with a loss.
“It was Dan’s vision, after he realized the financial impact of what happens after an accident,” Jennifer related.
Losing Charlene, a stay-at-home mom, had a ripple effect on her family.
“She was so well known in the community and well loved,” Jennifer said.
Prior to her death, Charlene had earned her personal training certificate. She had lost 42 pounds and with that weight loss, realized how great she felt how much more energy she had, and how proud of herself she was, Jennifer explained.
“She wanted to give that [feeling] to other people, so that’s why she got her training certificate to be a fitness instructor, to help other people,” her sister said.
Losing Charlene impacted her family in other ways, as well.
Dan returned to work at Maple Ridge Chrysler on July 1, two-and-a-half years after the hit and run occurred.
“Dan couldn’t go back to work because there was nobody to look after his kids,” Jennifer said. “Thankfully there was family support around, but nobody to take over his children’s care.”
Charlene didn’t have life insurance.
And when Dan couldn’t go back to work and had to pay not only for funeral expenses but for counselling for his four children as well as himself, this left a financial toll on the family.
“When you’re paying $200 per hour, per child, for counselling, the money ran out fast,” Jennifer related.
To help other families in similar situations, the charity was set up. Financial donations to the charity are always welcome. An office is being set up in Port Coquitlam, where counselling will be offered.
Recently it has helped in different ways, including hosting two separate toy drives in which donations were accepted for families that had lost loved ones.
There was such a surplus of gifts, some were delivered to low income families.
People can donate online at www.crccs.ca or in person at Haney Presbyterian Church, 11858 216 St.
– With files from Glacier Media
@ Copyright 2013