#1Dec 9th, 2008
Many donate to children of slain Oshawa couple
Family friend tries to make sure surviving kids have a Christmas
By DON PEAT, SUN MEDIA
Leslie and Rick Kelly were celebrating a son's birthday when they were attacked on Nov. 29, 2008. (Facebook)
A friend of Rick Kelly is trying to make sure the three children left in the wake of last week's triple murder still have a Christmas.
Shawn Chiasson, 34, spent yesterday collecting cash and toys for the children of Rick and Leslie Kelly - the Oshawa couple slain in their townhouse last week as they tried to protect their kids from a knife-wielding madman.
Leslie died a week ago yesterday, the couple's son Nathan, 3, died from injuries days later and Rick, due to unforeseen complications, died Thursday in hospital.
"I know Rick is watching from heaven with Leslie and Nathan," Chiasson told the Sun yesterday.
The young couple's son, Riley, 5, survived injuries he received that day. Two other children the couple had custody of, Rick's son, Brandon, 11, and his half-brother, Steven, 13, were unhurt, likely saved by Rick and Leslie's heroic battle with their killer, Gino Petralia.
Durham Regional Police shot Petralia at the townhouse complex shortly after the rampage. Both police and the province's Special Investigation Unit continue to investigate.
"(Rick) doesn't have to worry, he can rest in peace, because the community is going to take care of these kids," Chiasson said.
He said people continued to bring toys to the Santa set at the Pickering Flea Market yesterday, the Oshawa Wal-Mart raised $2,000 by last night and Rick's co-workers at FedEx had received donations from across Canada and the U.S.
"It's unbelievable, I can't believe the support we're getting," said Chiasson, who works as Santa at the Centrepoint Mall where he was accepting donations yesterday.
Chiasson, a co-worker of Rick's at Rogers TV, started the Rick Kelly & Family Christmas Gift Santa Drive last week after Leslie's death. As the tragedy deepened throughout the week, he was spurred on to help even more.
"I feel bad because three kids are orphans," he said. "The community can't replace what they've lost.
"How can you go through Christmas without a mom and dad? I can't imagine it on anybody's kids."
He spoke to Rick Kelly in hospital, just minutes before he died.
At the time, Kelly was upbeat about getting out of hospital and planning to take part in last night's candlelight vigil in Oshawa. The vigil was already planned to honour female victims of violence but in the wake of the murder, organizers had planned to light candles for Leslie Kelly.
"He had so many plans for his kids," Chiasson said recalling the conversation. "He wanted to take them to Disney World. He wanted to be there for his kids."
Fulfilling the wishes Rick Kelly expressed in one of his last conversations is now Chiasson's goal. "I'm working on Disney World, I'm working on a bunch of stuff. I've got to get their mind off what happened." People can drop off toys and cash donations at: The Centerpoint Mall Santa set (Yonge & Steeles), Rogers TV Studio on Marwood Dr. in Oshawa from Monday to Friday 9 a.m.- 4p.m., weekends at the Pickering Flea Market Santa set, at Red Carpet Productions on 33b Oak St., North York, Salon Chatters Oshawa South in the same plaza as Walmart Superstore and FedEx at 202 South Blair St. Unit #26, Whitby.
I am wondering if anyone else finds this story particularly heartbreaking? After I first read it after it had just happened, it was just the mother that had passed away. The young boy and the father were still alive at that time. Then the boy passed away from his injuries, but it looked like the father was going to make a full recovery. However, he died from unknown complications. Now their children are orphans.
I realize that things like this happen all the time all over the world, but for some reason this one hits me very hard. I look at the pictures of the happy family, and seeing the young boys that will never get to have any more time with their parents.
I want to say more, but I just can't find the words.