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Russ Chandler is shown with his daughter, Tori, who passed away after an October car crash.
Russ Chandler is shown with his daughter, Tori, who passed away after an October car crash. (Carroll County Times)

Russ Chandler recalls attending a Daddy Daughter dance with his daughter, Tori Chandler, when she was young. That's why he believes it's the perfect event to have in her honor.

Tori's Dance, a daddy daughter date, will be held Saturday, April 5 at the American Legion Post 31 in Westminster. The event will include a DJ, dancing, refreshments, door prizes and giveaways, and a photo keepsake for fathers and their daughters aged 5 or older.

Tori Chandler, of Westminster, was a junior human services major at Stevenson University. In October, Tori was in a car crash on her way to the college and spent five weeks in the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center before she died in November.

Her dad has since started the Tori Chandler Foundation, a scholarship fund in her honor. All proceeds from the dance will go to help other human services majors achieve their goals.

Nikki Haschert, event organizer and friend of Russ Chandler's, said the event isn't limited to just young girls

"We want to include the older girls who still feel like daddy's little girl," she said.

Haschert read the blog posts that updated people about Tori's condition while she was in the hospital after the accident. The posts, written by her father who didn't leave her side, drew in people who didn't even know Tori personally, Haschert said.

After her death, Russ Chandler began the foundation in Tori's honor.

"I can't imagine having the strength to start a foundation like this after going through what they did," she said.

Even though they never met, Haschert knows that Tori must have been an amazing person.

"She touched the lives of so many people who didn't even know her," she said.

Russ Chandler said the foundation scholarships will go to students who attended Carroll Community and transferred to Stevenson to major in human services - just like Tori.

"The kids that are following the same path she was," he said.

From a young age, Tori made it her mission to help people, Russ Chandler said. She was looking to become a therapist or family counselor and would volunteer at Rape Crisis Intervention Services.

"For me, it's the best thing I can do to honor her," he said. "To put effort to help people she never got a chance to."

Russ Chandler, who has two other daughters and a step daughter, will be at the dance with multiple dates.

The foundation has other fundraisers planned for this year, including a motorcycle ride, golf tournament and 5K run.

Tori's good friend, Stephanie Fazenbaker, of Westminster, has helped to make sure personal touches of Tori will be present at the dance. She helped to pick out magnet picture frames that she knows Tori would have liked.

Tori and her dad had a special relationship and were like best friends, Fazenbaker said.

"I know it's something Tori would have loved," she said of the dance. "It's something that's going to help show off the foundation and raise money for the foundation."

The foundation will keep her name alive and show everyone what a special person she was, Fazenbaker said.

"I think it's just going to be great the foundation can help kids in the community who may or may not have known her, but are doing what she did," she said.

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