By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV

SOUTH BOSTON (CBS) – The community of South Boston is showering a family with generosity after a weekend car accident destroyed something precious to them.

State Police say a 14-year-old crashed a car near M Street Beach around 9:30 on Friday night. The car rolled over several times, destroying a bench dedicated to the memory of Sharlene Feeney Grealy, a mother of three who died of melanoma in 2003.

“We all grew up at the beach. That’s why it’s a special place to Sharlene, her kids, all of us,” Grealy’s sister Denise Barry told WBZ.

Grealy’s large family still lives in South Boston and visits the bench often when they want to feel her presence.

“We were all upset. Especially [oldest daughter] Deirdre, she was very upset about the whole situation. This is her serenity out here with her mother,” said Barry.

The family is convinced Sharlene acted as a guardian angel to the passengers in the car. Feeling inspired by Sharlene’s spirit, a family friend helped oldest daughter Deirdre set up a page on fundraising site Within 48 hours, the site raised nearly $2,000, four times what they needed to replace Sharlene’s bench.

For five years Grealy’s mother, Pat Feeney, organized a walk that started at M Street Beach to raise money for a scholarship in Sharlene’s name. The family hopes to dedicate a new bench in the spring and then put extra money towards another scholarship in Sharlene’s name.


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