Breanna's memory lives through her Smile Foundation - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Breanna's memory lives through her Smile Foundation

By Kristen Rietz - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

 WAUSAU (WAOW)-- Twenty-four-year-old Raul Ponce-Rocha, convicted of killing a Wausau woman, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

In May of 2009, Breanna Schneller was found brutally-murdered in her apartment on Wausau's west side.

At the time, she was an 18-year-old senior at D.C. Everest Senior High.

But her family says in spite of the horrific way Breanna died, they want the community to remember her dreams, positive attitude and smile.

 Craig Schneller describes his emotions during the murder trial of his daughter, Breanna:

"It was very difficult to do. Especially when you're facing the person that took our daughter from us. That was excruciatingly painful and tough."

 But Schneller says after a judge sentenced Ponce-Rocha to life in prison, he feels ready to move forward with his life.

"Just sat in there and just took a big breath of air, and it was like a relief that this was done."

 His new focus-- Breanna's Smile Foundation.  It's a non-profit organization created to make a difference in the community.

"When I got involved with the foundation, it kind of gave me a new lease on life," said Schneller. "To be able to work in such a positive manner, and to do things for Bree, it just helped uplift me. "

Schneller hopes through Breanna's foundation, he will raise a million dollars for FCCLA, one of the leadership organizations Breanna was involved in at DC Everest Senior High.

Last year was the first community fundraiser for Breanna's Smile. This year another is planned for August 12 and 13 at Coral Lanes in Wausau. Schneller says anyone can get involved.

"We can always use as much help, as much input, and direction that anybody cares to offer. We're willing to listen."

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