Ritterspach talks of efforts ‘to do good after friend’s death’

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Friends and family packed O’Gara’s Bar and Grill Wednesday for a night of music and celebration. But the people didn’t just show up for the bands, they showed up for Sarah Ritterspach.

The St. Thomas senior helped organize the benefit show, titled “Shower Your Love,” to raise money for cancer research and to remember her best friend Maggie Bye who died of brain cancer in December 2008.

“Maggie was just full of life, and she would have loved an event like this,” said Ken Ritterspach, Sarah’s father. “So you make it a celebration of her life, and that makes it an upper for people.”

Ken Ritterspach said he was “dumbfounded” by the amount of support that has been flowing out for his daughter, and the support seen last night was no different.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Sexy Delicious singer Jamie Quinn, whose band played at the benefit. “I’m really proud of her, and it’s just cool to keep the memory alive and continue to raise awareness for cancer while raising money for it as well.”

Ritterspach raised about $1,000 from the O’Gara’s benefit alone, brining her total fundraising efforts to about $3,850.

“It’s kind of like a big coming together for the understanding of how important this actually is, and that someone is willing to dedicate this much time and this much effort into an event like this shows how important it is,” senior Craig Spooner said. “But to be sad about it is not the right way. You have to be happy about someone putting this much dedication into an event like this.”

Ritterspach wanted the event to celebrate Maggie’s life while still finding an opportunity to do good after her death.

“Maggie would be so excited,” Ritterspach said. “She would definitely be the heart and soul behind this. She always turned everything into a party and had so much fun with it.”

Ashley Bolkcom can be reached at awbolkcom@stthomas.edu.