The story of college student Mollie Tibbetts and her tragic death rocked the nation; such a young life was taken by a person who should not have been in the country.
As her friends and family members observe Tibbetts’ would-be 21st birthday, they are forced to be reminded of her loss.
As ABC News reports, Tibbetts’ mother Laura Calderwood wants people to remember her daughter by donating $21 to a charity in her daughter’s name.
Calderwood said she hopes to mobilize the same community that participated in a month-long search for Tibbetts last year when she vanished in July after going out for a jog in her hometown of Brooklyn, Iowa. She was found stabbed to death in a field about a month later after a nationwide search.
“We are asking people to donate $21 in honor of Mollie and we thought that was a reasonable amount that anybody could participate in,” Calderwood told “Good Morning America” in an interview airing Wednesday, which would have been her daughter’s 21st birthday.
The fundraiser was launched to remember her daughter’s love of theater.
“Mollie was very gregarious, welcoming, outgoing — empathetic. She loved running. She loved theater arts. She loved singing in the shower,” Calderwood said. “Mollie was very dedicated to theater arts — she was in plays.”
Calderwood said it was difficult and took “a higher power” to get through celebrating her daughter’s would-be 21st birthday.
“It was indescribable and it took a higher power to get me through it, it really did … but we got through it,” she said via ABC News. “I don’t wanna feel anger. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it at all.”
As for potentially forgiving the illegal immigrant who killed her daughter, Calderwood said she had not and was not ready to.
“I mean, people have asked me, you know, ‘Will you ever forgive him?’ And I said, ‘I haven’t — I’ve gone nowhere near that,'” she added.
Calderwood said she was glad to see and hear the nation rally behind her daughter and that she was glad to receive the kind words that have been offered to her family.
“I just hope that we’ve set a good example. And with all the kindness that was given to my family and to the community — keep that in mind and pay that forward,” Calderwood said. “I mean, I received the kindness and now I’m trying to pay that forward.”