2012-03-16 / Front Page

‘A Walk to Remember’ is March 24

By Kristy Wagner Staff Writer

Darien Richardson Darien Richardson On March 24 people will gather at Back Cove on Baxter Boulevard in Portland to remember a young woman whose death saddened the South Portland community.

The second annual Walk to Remember Darien will honor the memory of Darien Richardson, a 2002 graduate of South Portland High School who died from injuries inflicted during a shooting in her Portland home in 2010. Darien was 25 years old when she died in Miami several weeks after the shooting.

The crime remains unsolved, but Richardson’s family and friends formed a nonprofit organization called Remembering Darien Inc. in 2011 dedicated to raising awareness about crime in the community. The nonprofit holds the Walk to Remember Darien not only to raise awareness, but also to raise funds to help people affected by violent crimes.

“We decided to have a nonprofit because of what happened to Darien,” said Judi Richardson, Darien’s mother and president of Remembering Darien Inc.

Richardson said Darien had difficulty obtaining help from the state of Maine after the shooting.

“There isn’t much help out there. (Darien) had a number of surgeries that kept her out of work,” Richardson said.

The state has a victim's fund to assist those affected by violent crimes, but it’s capped at $15,000, Richardson said.

“We started a victim’s fund not really knowing where we were going to go with it and ended up starting a nonprofit in her name,” Richardson said. “Hopefully we can raise money and help people financially, but also help people find contacts, other resources, and advocate for victims. We’re still in the early stages.”

The nonprofit has a board of directors made up of Darien’s family, friends from high school and Bowdoin College, where Darien graduated from in 2006.

The Walk to Remember Darien drew nearly 200 walkers in 2011 and Richardson said she expects even more this year.

The idea for the walk came from Darien’s family and friends wanting to hold an event for her birthday, which falls on March 26. Richardson said the goal is to hold the annual walk as close to her daughter’s birthday as possible.

“We pulled (the 2011 walk) together pretty fast. This year we’ve had a little more time to get word out and get sponsors,” Richardson said.

T-shirts for the event are available for walkers who donate a minimum of $20 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Sponsors for the Walk to Remember Darien include Amato’s, Ames Electric Company, Design Acoustics Inc., Magic Carpet Cleaning and Restoration, Pape Subaru, Pleasant Street Dental Associates, Portland Chiropractic Neurology, Prime Motor Cars, Willows Pizza, and Woodlands Assisted Living of Cape Elizabeth.

Richardson said the nonprofit doesn’t have any other events planned right now, but the hope is that Remembering Darien Inc. will grow and hold fundraisers in the future.

Those interested in participating in the walk to Remember Darien should meet in the parking lot on Baxter Boulevard across the street from Hannaford on Forest Avenue in Portland at 12:30 p.m. The walk begins at 1 p.m.

For more information, visit www.rememberingdarien.org.

Staff Writer Kristy Wagner can be reached at 282-4337, ext. 233.

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