Local woman directs heartbreak into non-profit

Marley Lion and his family during his graduation from Academic Magnet High School in 2012
Marley Lion and his family during his graduation from Academic Magnet High School in 2012

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Water Mission's annual Walk for Water raised more than $300,000 towards its cause of providing water access for people in developing countries.

The biggest fundraiser was team Heart of the Lion, whose members collected money in honor of Marley Lion, a 17-year-old Johns Island teen who was killed during an attempted robbery in West Ashley in June of 2012.

One week after her son's murder, Liz Paige called the North Charleston-based non-profit.

"I was ready to do something," she said.

Since then, she helped to raise thousands of dollars for Water Mission.  For every $10 donated, one person in a developing country, or a disaster area, will have lifetime access to clean water.

"We miss him," Paige said of her son, "But we just try to do what we can until we see him again."

While Paige thinks of her son "all the time," she also thinks of the perpetrators sometimes while she's attending church.

Ryan Deleston, Bryan Rivers, Julius Brown, and George Brown were all sentenced for their roles in Lion's murder.  Their sentences range from 12 years in prison to life in prison.

"I really picture each of their faces, and I'm still working through that," she said of forgiving the four men. "It is God's work to do in my heart to help me."

With the 5th anniversary of her son's death approaching, Paige said she plans to mark the day in a unique way.  Last year, she presented Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen and the lead investigators with plaques featuring Lion's picture.

Lion would likely be a college graduate now.  He was accepted to Clemson University just prior to his death, where he planned to study international marketing with a focus on Chinese.

"Even though there's a loss, so many people's lives have been saved since then and we try to just do what we thought would be helpful to someone else," Paige said.

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