Reporting Rachel Slavik
RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) – The River Falls community is rallying behind Jessica Schaffhausen, who lost her three daughters, last year.
Jessica’s turning the murders of 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie, and 5-year-old Cecilia into a positive, trying to build a playground as a memorial.
The three girls were killed by their father, Aaron Schaffhausen, in their River Falls home.
“It’s been difficult,” Schaffhausen said. “I definitely take things one day at a time … Just thinking about my girls makes me very happy.”
Jessica took a step away from grief on Saturday with a support group of more than 1,300 friends, family and those who she’s never met.
“I think for Jess, and her family, to see this love and support, it’s amazing,” said Samantha Jensen, who helped organize the fundraiser.
Everyone who showed up to Hoffman Park ran toward a goal of making the playground a reality, raising $48,000 in the process.
“It ran past their schools and through the cemetery where sisters are buried — it was really a touching race,” said Teresa Savage of Coon Rapids.
The Tri-Angels Playground is meant for children of all ages and all physical abilities.
“I wanted something that interacts with people, that people can do things with, and build memories on,” Jessica said. “It’s nourishing to my soul to see them carry on.”
If you’d like to donate to the Tri-Angels playground, click here.