Overlooking a sea cliff on the Santa Barbara Wilcox property, friends and family gathered earlier this week to hold a memorial service for UCSB student Ramona Shapiro.
The 22-year-old sociology major took her own life on Feb. 28 via helium poisoning. Shapiro is survived by her husband, Ben Sturrock. Shapiro’s mother Bev Morrison said her daughter was a kind, intelligent person who battled depression for most of her life.
“She was so, so sensitive,” Morrison said. “She suffered so much. She struggled with depression her whole life, since she was about five.”
Shapiro was also a committed proponent of veganism and was the chair and advocacy coordinator of campus group Vegan Interest, Vegan Outreach. Her mother said Shapiro was very keen on helping animals and the underdog in general.
“She saw animals as innocent beings,” Morrison said. “I guess she saw them as having a lot in common with herself, to the point where she had difficulty adjusting to a world where people eat innocent animals.”
Andrew Dunn, a second-year film & media studies major, worked closely with Shapiro in VIVO. He said she was dedicated to the cause and stepped up to take over when the group’s last president quit.
“She inspired a lot of people who worked with her,” Dunn said. “She was absolutely dedicated to being a vegan and making the world a better place through the activism we did.”
Morrison said she will remember her daughter for her intelligence.
“The work that others would sweat over she would breeze through because she was so brilliant,” Morrison said. “I want her back. Oh, God. I don’t care so much about the memories. I just want her back.”