The former rowing teammates of Shawn O'Donnell, a U.S. diplomat and Danville native killed when a truck collided with her while bicycling to work in Washington, D.C. this summer, are seeking to honor their late friend and raise awareness around traffic and bicycle safety with a boat commemorating her.
"There is nothing that can fill the void that Shawn's family and friends feel in the wake of her passing," O'Donnell's former UC Berkeley teammate Andrea Sanders said in a statement. "However, there is a way that Shawn's love of adventure and desire for a challenge can live on. That is through the dedication of a boat in her name."
O'Donnell's former crew teammates reunited after hearing about her death on July 20, when the 40-year-old was struck and killed by a truck during her bicycle commute to the State Department office in the U.S. Capitol.
The reunited team is now more than halfway to their $50,000 fundraising goal, which they plan to use to purchase a boat to name after their late teammate, and to race this spring.
The team noted in an announcement that naming a boat after someone is one of the highest honors in the sport of rowing, and one that O'Donnell's father -- himself a former UC Berkeley rower -- also holds after dying at a young age too.
"Although the rowing and broader community's efforts to come together will not bring Shawn back, it has provided a sense of unity," the team said in a statement.
More information on the fundraiser and planned race are available at shawnsboat.com.