Aiken United for Ashley and Riley benefit helps family, raises awareness

Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013 9:25 PM
Last updated Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 1:13 AM
  • Follow Crime & courts

Travis Ryan comforted his mother, Katherine Kaney, at an Aiken benefit Sunday as they mourned the loss of his sister and niece.

Back | Next
A benefit for Ashley Kaney and her daughter Riley Burdick, 8, was hosted by the Cumbee Center at The Red Pepper in Aiken. Kaney's brother, Travis Ryan, comforts their mother, Katherine, at the benefit.   JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/STAFF
A benefit for Ashley Kaney and her daughter Riley Burdick, 8, was hosted by the Cumbee Center at The Red Pepper in Aiken. Kaney's brother, Travis Ryan, comforts their mother, Katherine, at the benefit.


“I’m still in shock,” Ryan said of the homicide that claimed the lives of Ashley Ka­ney, 26, and her daughter, Riley Burdick, 8, in Summerville, S.C., this month. “It goes all the way to your ear, but not into your head. It’s just not something you can wrap your mind around.”

Kaney, like several others Sunday, wore a purple shirt as she navigated the crowd at the Aiken United for Ashley and Riley benefit at The Red Pep­per in Aiken, held to raise awareness of domestic violence.

More than 100 people attended the benefit, which aimed to raise more than $10,000 to help offset funeral costs for the family.

“A lot of people don’t like to talk about domestic violence or sexual assault, so when something happens that hits close to home, it’s great to come out and raise awareness to tell the community that it’s OK to talk about it,” said Sarah Tuccitto, the volunteer coordinator at the Cumbee Center to Assist Abused Persons. “Things need to be done or else it’s going to keep happening.”

Patrons treated themselves to a buffet while enjoying live music on the patio. Others participated in a silent auction inside the restaurant.

“I didn’t have one single business or one single person turn me down,” Red Pepper co-owner John Stanley said. “Even with the furloughs going on, every business that I went to was able to contribute.”

Stanley said he has been vocal about holding the event. Ashley Kaney had worked at the restaurant as a bartender, and Stanley said he considers her to be family.

“Some of her best friends still work here and we all have really, really close ties,” he said. “When you’re talking about a local restaurant like this, you’re talking about family, and it hit real close to home.”

Katherine Kaney said the support has been comforting.

“I even got a check yesterday from a woman in Cali­for­nia that I’ve never met,” she said as tears collected in her eyes. “Inside was a beautiful note that said, ‘You’re in my prayers and will always be.’”

Dana Nolan smiled as she reminisced about her friend of 22 years and her daughter,.

“You don’t ever expect it to happen to somebody you know,” she said. “Sometimes you need to push a little harder. You can always change things. It’s never too late.”

Stanley and Katherine Kaney said they expect the benefit to become an annual event to raise awareness of domestic violence. Future proceeds would go to the Cumbee Center to help keep services free.

Less than an hour after the event started, Tuccitto said enough money was raised to cover the funeral expenses. Any extra money will be given to the family to use at its discretion.

“I encourage anybody who knows someone being abused to do something,” Katherine Kaney said. “Don’t do what I did. Even if you think that they might get mad at you, because you might save their life. “

Comments (1) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 10/21/13 - 05:32 am
0
0
Burial Insurance will be the next mandatory insurance for all.
Unpublished

Burial Insurance will be the next mandatory insurance for all.

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 10/21/13 - 05:33 am
0
0
Pennies a day for burial insurance. Less than a Smart Phone.
Unpublished

Pennies a day for burial insurance. Less than a Smart Phone.

soapy_725
44121
Points
soapy_725 10/21/13 - 05:34 am
0
0
Tragic circumstance resulting from irresponsibility. Why?
Unpublished

Tragic circumstance resulting from irresponsibility. Why?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 10/21/13 - 07:51 am
0
0
My condolences to family and

My condolences to family and friends.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Census: Augusta young adults struggling

A new report shows that young adults in the area today are better educated and on average, earn more money than 30 years ago, but are far more likely to be unemployed, unmarried and living with ...
Search Augusta jobs