Letisha’s Well: Run for Water aims to bring teen’s smile to thousands

Teen killed in random stabbing in Abbotsford last fall remembered through water project

Uli Reimer holds a photo of his daughter Letisha

Letisha’s Well: bringing clean water to Ethiopia in memory of Letisha from Run for Water on Vimeo.



Letisha Reimer made it her mission to make people smile.

She liked to throw goofy jokes into everyday conversations with her family – mom Ellie, dad Uli and siblings Xander, 7, and Taya, 9.

Since her death – in a random stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary on Nov. 1, 2016 – the Reimers have had little to smile and laugh about.

But in the months since losing the vibrant teen, who would have turned 14 in December, they’ve taken up her cause.

“There’s times where we’re all in the car … if I know she would have said something – one of those silly teenager jokes – I’ll add that in there, or one of the kids will,” Uli says.

Letisha had another mission: to make the world a better place through charity and volunteer work.

And the Reimers are taking on that mission as well.

Sparked by a family friend, they have formed Team Letisha, a group of friends and family who plan to raise funds and race together in this year’s Run for Water on May 28 at Mill Lake Park. Letisha had participated in the annual event, which raises money to build clean water wells in poor Ethiopian communities, for the past five years.

When a request came in for special Team Letisha shirts, the organization’s executive director, Peg Peters, was inspired.

He had heard about Letisha’s dedication to the run and how her racing bibs had been displayed at her celebration of life ceremony in November.

“When I contacted Uli and Ellie, I said, ‘What if we did something a bit bigger? What if we did a well for an entire community and we put a plaque in her honour; call it Letisha’s Well,’ ” Peters says. “What a way to honour her passion and her heart as a way to allow the family and the community to come around something and heal.”

Uli says Run for Water was just one of several ways Letisha gave back to the world. She also participated in charitable missions through her church, including handing out warm blankets to homeless people.

“She just had a heart for other people,” Uli says.

Letisha’s character was on full display during her five-kilometre Run for Water races, he says. Unlike her brother and father, she had no competitive streak and did not strive for a record time. She would instead stay with her friends and enjoy the moment surrounded by people she cared about.

The Reimers still talk to Letisha. They do the same things she loved: hikes, bike rides and making silly jokes.

On some of the more painful days, the Reimers sit together and rewatch the video montage put together for her funeral: pictures and video of the “energetic, fun-loving, compassionate” girl dancing, running and goofing off.

Team Letisha has already swollen to nearly 150 members.

“People joining and saying, ‘I can’t run but I’ll be there, I’ll participate, I’ll walk with friends and family.’ It’s just been amazing, the number of people that are coming together,” Uli says.

All the money raised by this year’s event will be in Letisha’s name.

But Peters says he has already had to re-adjust the fundraising projections, as the overwhelming response grows.

What was supposed to be one well, with a $100,000 budget, could become three wells.

One of the wells, providing a 5,000-person community with clean water, will also be accompanied by a four-room school with a playground, latrines and teacher training.

A donor has also reached out, offering to fly the four Reimers to Ethiopia in August to attend the inauguration of the well and the school.

Peters says he has been amazed by the Reimer family’s strength following their heartbreaking loss.

“There’s this depth that you guys have,” he says, facing Uli. “It blows me away. It says yes, we are holding on to the pain and hurt, we’re never going to forget that. And we’re choosing to do good in the world with this. It’s amazing.”

Uli admits the pain has been more than he and his family can handle at times but says moving forward is the only way.

“I don’t think she would want us not to do it,” he says. “She would get mad if we wouldn’t do this.”

He says he’s excited to go to Ethiopia, to see firsthand the effect his daughter continues to have on the world.

The Reimers will no doubt find more smiles brought into the world by Letisha.

Visit runforwater.ca to donate to Letisha’s Well or for more information on the annual run.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Construction of Douglas College's Surrey Campus in 1970. (Photo: Douglas College Archives)
PHOTOS: Douglas College’s Surrey roots at a B.C.-first campus in 1970

The official date of the Douglas/Kwantlen split was April 1, 1981

B.C.’s parliament building, Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
ZYTARUK: Votes come at a premium price. Time to pay the tab

Promises are rained upon the voting public much like confetti being blasted from the maw of a cannon, or particles of ash spewn from an erupting volcano

Loretta Hibbs (right), founder and president of Surrey-based City Dream Centre, with Kelly Voros (foreground), the organization's executive administrator. (submitted photo)
‘Pumpkin patch’ brought to Surrey inner-city schools where COVID cancelled field trips

Work done by volunteers with Surrey-based City Dream Centre

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and staff by parents must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Most Read