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It was an act of domestic violence in February 2010 that led Jody Marchand, of Westford, to start the Live for Liv foundation in her daughter’s memory.
A survivor of the same violent incident, Marchand has made it her life’s work to spread the word about domestic violence, to help other victims and survivors, and to keep the memory of her daughter, Olivia alive.
This July 15, Marchand will be out in front of a group of runners competing in the 5K Road Race at the Ride for Liv/Run for Live at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Westford. The outdoor event is meant to be a day of joy for the community. Marchand said she wants to have only happy memories of her daughter on this day.
“For me it’s become the happiest day of the year,” said Marchand. “…this day means everything to me.”
Just 17 when she died, Olivia (known as “Liv”) was on her way to the University of Vermont, the following fall. She loved listening to reggae music, creating art, and riding horses. The tragic ending to her life was senseless.
“She was artistic,…very fashionable,” said Marchand. “…We would have fun going shopping. She liked a nice dinner out. She was not a cheap date, let’s put it that way.”
Riders and runners who would like to support the foundation’s mission of raising awareness of domestic violence and how to curtail it can pre-register to participate at bikereg.com.
The event includes three routes for bikers:
- 50-mile timed ride — Riders take off at 8:30 a.m.
- 23-mile route along the back roads of Westford, Chelmsford, Carlisle, Concord and Acton — Riders take off at 10 a.m.
- 6-mile route along a portion of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail — Riders take off at 11 a.m.
The event also includes a 5K Run/Walk which begins at 10:30 a.m.
A barbecue and family-friendly events will take place after the ride to celebrate healthy relationships.
History of Live for Liv
On February 1, 2010, Brian Marchand of Westford shot and killed his daughter, according to police, and critically wounded his wife before turning the gun on himself and succumbing to his injury.
After recuperating, Jody Marchand founded the Live for Liv Foundation and started the Ride for Live/Run for Liv in 2011.
“Olivia was a senior in high school ready to go off to college,” said Marchand. “…She was everything in the world to me…There is a huge hole in my heart forever.”