Family to honor daughter killed in boating accident - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Zoe's Rainbow Dash: Family to honor daughter killed in boating accident

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Zoe McDonough Zoe McDonough
Zoe's grandmother Sue Zoe's grandmother Sue
The McDonough family The McDonough family

HAMILTON COUNTY, TN. (WRCB) -- It was the Fourth of July weekend, and the McDonough family was where so many are that time of year, on the water.

They were making their way back to Lakeshore Marina on Chickamauga Lake, when an unexpected wind storm toppled their pontoon boat, trapping 10-year-old Zoe McDonough and her grandmother.

Both died that day.

"The weather just changed in a minute," says Brett McDonough.

And so did Brett and Leah McDonough's lives.

Their 10-year-old daughter Zoe and her grandmother Sue were killed when high winds flipped the family's pontoon boat.

"Someday I'll be comfortable with going to the lake again," Brett says. "But I don't think this summer is probably going to sound good, just too many raw memories there."

Now it's about remembering the good memories.

"Zoe donated her hair to locks of love," Brett says. "She cried almost all day, but she was glad she did it. That's just how she was, just a sweet girl."

The last eight months have not been without hard days.

Among them, their youngest daughter's first day of school, a day Zoe had been anticipating.

"That was really important," Leah says. "She just kept saying mommy, can I walk Siri to her first day of kindergarten?"

Zoe wasn't there to walk with Siri, but her Girl Scout troop was.

"It was tear-jerking," Leah says. "It was wonderful."

And now another difficult day looms: the anniversary of the accident.

"Leah and I just decided there's no way we can go through something even close to that initial tragedy again," says Brett.

Instead they plan to start a new tradition: a color run to honor Zoe, a girl who loved to dance and dreamed of being an art teacher.

"That's Zoe," Brett says. "That's her personality exactly."

"Zoe's Rainbow Dash" was named for a source of comfort after the accident.

"Every Friday after that for the next month, people were seeing double-rainbows," Leah says. "I felt like it was God telling me that they were safe with him and everything was going to be okay."

The color run will take place this summer at Hamilton Place Mall.

You can find more information by clicking here.

But that's not the only way Zoe is being remembered. Before her death, she choreographed a dance for her school talent show.

Zoe's friends will perform that dance this weekend at Westview Elementary.

This year's talent show will be dedicated to Zoe and include a rainbow theme.

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