Jody Marchand. WESTFORDCAT PHOTO

Mother Honors Memory of Daughter; Ride/Run Family Day Takes Place July 16

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The Westford mother of a teenager killed in an act of domestic violence has recorded a video telling details of the tragic event.

Jody Marchand came to the Westford Community Access TV station on June 16 to tell her story in an effort to raise awareness of an upcoming fundraiser designed to stem domestic abuse.

The annual Ride for Liv/Run for Liv takes place on July 16 with staggered times for three bicycle races and a 5K run/walk. Marchand created the event in 2011.

She told her story on camera, detailing the events of Feb. 1, 2010, that led to Olivia’s death and, according to police, the suicide of Olivia’s father, Brian Marchand. Jody was critically wounded that night by a bullet that entered her temple and exited her jaw, penetrating her shoulder.

Marchand has made it her life mission to make sure Olivia is remembered.

“Olivia was a senior in high school and was ready to start her education at the University of Vermont,” said Marchand. “…My goal in life is to keep her memory alive.”

After healing from her wounds and returning home from her prolonged hospital stay, seven years ago, Marchand conceived the idea of having a day of fun for families.

“I didn’t want to have a service. I wanted to have a happy day in memory of my daughter Olivia,” Marchand added.

In the video, Marchand relives the tragic moment when she says her husband entered the master bedroom with intent to kill.

“My husband was in the family room watching TV…and he was angry at me about something that had happened that weekend. I don’t remember what it was,” said Marchand. He got off the couch and began choking her, she said. Marchand dialed 9-1-1 but then hung up.

Marchand walked up the stairs to the bedroom. Olivia was also in the room standing by the dresser when Brian walked in with a gun, according to Marchand.

Today she spends much of her time educating local groups on how to recognize the characteristics of domestic abuse.

“Domestic violence seems to go hand in hand with physical abuse,” said Marchand, but stressed that emotional abuse can also be a grave warning sign.

“Emotional abuse can eventually lead to what happened to me. Emotional abuse is all about the ultimate control…,” Marchand said.

The Ride/Run for Liv is sponsored by the Live for Liv Foundation founded by Marchand and her family members in 2010. It takes place at the Middlesex County 4-H Fairgrounds, 55 South Chelmsford Road, Westford.

Start times are as follows:

• 5K run or walk – starts at 11 a.m.
• 6-mile family ride – starts at 11 a.m.
• 23-mile timed bike ride – starts at 10 a.m.
• 50-mile timed bike ride – starts at 8:30 a.m.

The 50-mile ride, taking bicyclists to Chelmsford, Concord, Carlisle, Groton, Dunstable and Acton, is new this year.

All routes begin at the 4-H Fairgrounds. Riders, runners, and walkers can register in advance or on the scene, say organizers.

A BBQ lunch and ice cream will be served for everyone who participates in any of the events.

The event’s Twitter hashtag is #riderun4liv. Its Facebook page can be found here for up-to-the-minute news and posts.

The Ride/Run has benefited Alternative House, a Lowell shelter for victims of domestic violence. It also has benefited the Westford Coalition for Non-violence, formed under the town’s Health Department in the aftermath of the Marchand tragedy. The Mahoney Tribute, a Tewksbury-based group which raises awareness against violence, has also been given funds from the Live for Liv Foundation.

Live for Liv gives away an annual scholarship to a graduating senior at Westford Academy.

Here is the complete video or find it on demand at westfordcat.org.