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Kassie Cares: Family continues legacy of Cathedral High School grad who died during semester at sea

Posted at 8:59 AM, Aug 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 22:19:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Family members and friends are continuing the mission of a young woman who loved to give back two years after she died while studying.

It's been almost two years since Cathedral High School graduate Kassie Braun died after she fell while traveling for a semester at sea voyage. She was just 20 years old.

On Sunday, Braun's family and friends came together to raise money to continue spreading her legacy.

"Kassie had this wonderful idea of starting sip, bark repeat," Stephanie Pavilonis, daughter of Daniel's Vineyard owners, said. "Not only did she have the idea, she made the difference on acting on the idea."

Braun was the first intern at Daniel's Vineyard in McCordsville in the summer of 2017. While there, Pavilonis said Braun helped them to create an event to help the Humane Society of Hamilton County.

"There are a lot of personalities here and she just smiled and laughed with us," Pavilonis said. "Helped us figure out how to make this place better. There's a difference between people who have the ideas and people who act on the ideas. That's what she did."

"Sip. Bark! Repeat." is an event she created as part of the Pour It Forward Weekend, helping the Humane Society of Hamilton County with donations and adoptions.

Since Braun passed away, the event now benefits the Kassie Kares Foundation.

"We are just doing what Kassie did and creating an organization that's empowering people," Kassie's mother, Chalene Braun, said. "It's empowering people through education and it's taking care of her original recipients, four-legged friends, the dogs."

Money raised through the event will still go to help animal rescue organizations, but it also goes to provide grants for students in need of tuition at her former school, Cathedral High School. It will also go to help build a school in Nigeria.

Last year, the event raised $70,000.

"In 20 years shy of 21 years, she did more to spread joy and love and light and goodness then some of us do in an entire lifetime," Sophia Werning, Kassie's godmother, said.

The group has an overall goal to raise $3.5 million to fully fund the school scholarships and complete the Kassie Braun Memorial School in Nigeria.

You can find more information about the organization at KassieKares.org.