“It’s agonizing. We are re-living the immediate pain that we felt.”
The upcoming first anniversary of the Nova Scotia mass shooting is a difficult time for Jenny Kierstead and her family.
On April 18, 2020, her sister Lisa McCully was one of 22 people killed by a gunman dressed as an RCMP officer, who terrorized the province during a 13-hour rampage across rural Nova Scotia.
McCully was a 49-year-old schoolteacher, and was killed in her own home.
Since that devastating day, Kierstead has been healing — and helping others heal — through a legacy society to remember those lives lost.
“I think there’s just been so much suffering and people really want to be a part of something positive and constructive,” she said.
“There’s been tremendous response.”
To commemorate the dark day, organizers have put together a 5K/10K/half/full marathon that will begin in Portapique and wind its way to Victoria Park in Truro, N.S.
Proceeds from race kits will go towards the society’s Memorial Building Fund, which will establish a permanent memorial.
As well, a commemorative walk is being held at Victoria Park throughout the week, beginning April 11. Markers will be placed along the walk to honour each victim, where people can pause and remember.
The walk on April 18 between noon and 2 p.m. will be reserved for the victims’ family members.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it will be difficult for everyone to gather. So, events will be live-streamed on social media and similar events are being held across the country.
“We have pockets of people who are setting up five-kilometre runs in their different communities across Canada. So we have one in PEI, New Brunswick, Alberta.” she said.
“It’s really neat to see how people have these travel limitations but they’re making it work in their own communities and that’s just so lovely. It’s a wonderful way to feel that connectiveness.”
That sense of community and support is what has helped Kierstead over the past few months. She credits the help from victim services, therapy and a strong online community for getting the families through the tragedy.
“It doesn’t bring her back and so that grief will be something I live with forever,” she explained.
— with a file from Graeme Benjamin