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Annual car show doubles as a safe haven for people dealing with domestic violence

Family gathering at the annual Sunflowers for Ciera car show
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 16:44:30-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — A new non-profit organization, Sunflowers for Ciera is kicking off their annual car show. Car enthusiasts from all across Western New York gathered at Eastern Hills Mall on Sunday. The organization and car show celebrates the life of Ciera Marie Schwartz. Leading the organization is Ciera Marie Schwartz's mother, Lisa Schwartz. Lisa Schwartz told 7 News the mission behind the organization is to bring awareness to domestic violence.

"I'm hoping that no other mother or father, sister or brother has to go through what we have," Schwartz said. "The whole goal of this organization is to empower people both men and women to realize that when they are in an unhealthy relationship that there is help. There is a way out and that they don't have to settle."

Schwartz said her daughter always had a love for cars and spent several years in the car club community which is why they decided to host the car show in her honor.

"Ciera was a big car girl," Schwartz said.

Schwartz also said her daughter loved sunflowers. Many people wore sunflower earrings, t-shirts and bags to honor that love at the car show.

At the center of the car show is Ciera's own car. The license place reads "EVOBABE" which was her name through out the car club community. Friends she made in the car club are still putting finishing touches on the car.

"It really hit my heart that she's gone," said Natthapong Thianpom, Ciera's best friend. "I still don't believe that she's gone but she's watching over us. That's why I'm motivated to get this car done."

Schwartz is hoping this organization can become a safe haven for people in need.

"I look around and the lives that she's impacted both before and after her death is overwhelming to me. And I hope that even if just one person can be helped through a situation that their in, it's all worth it to us."

Sunflowers for Ciera Mission Statement:
"Ciera lived like a sunflower, symbolizing its universal power to bring joy to people. It is our mission to advocate for young men & women who have had their light diminished through unhealthy relationships and provide both education and resources to recognize and empower them to overcome."