published Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Whatever happened to ... Parents plan Zoe's Rainbow Dash in memory of their daughter

  • photo
    Ten-year-old Zoe McDonough died July 5, 2012, in a boating accident on Lake Chickamauga.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Q. Whatever happened to Brett McDonough, whose mother and daughter died in a Chickamauga Lake boating accident on July 5 last year?

A. A fun holiday weekend turned into a nightmare for the McDonough family when their pontoon boat was caught in a surprise storm and flipped end-over-end, dumping a dozen people into Chickamauga Lake on July 5, 2012.

Ten people made it safely to shore, but Zoe McDonough, 10, and her grandmother, Susan McDonough, 66, were pulled from the water unconscious and died in the hospital the next day.

In the months since, Brett and his wife, Leah, started the Zoe McDonough Foundation to raise money for Zoe's favorite charities. The foundation's major annual fundraiser will be Zoe's Rainbow Dash -- a 5K race in which participants are plastered in colorful powder and spray as they run -- which kicks off at 8 a.m. July 4 at Hamilton Place mall.

The McDonoughs designed the event to honor their daughter.

"I know for sure that Zoe would absolutely love it," Brett said. "She's all about a fun time and making everybody happy. She'd absolutely love the whole thing."

About 2,500 people are expected to attend the race. The family has been selling T-shirts, finding sponsors and placing ads to get the word out. They've put months of work into planning the memorial fundraiser.

"I knew it would be a mountain of an event to plan," Brett said. "The easy part is dreaming it up. The hard part is when you go to put the plan in action. But it's definitely coming together really well."

For more information on the race, visit

This update was written by staff writer Shelly Bradbury. Contact her at sbradbury or 423-757-6525. If you have an idea for Whatever happened to, email

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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