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      Homicide survivors gather for annual picnic

      CHARLESTON,S.C. (WCIV) - More than 100 people gathered at Riverfront Park Saturday for anannual picnic of the homicide survivors group.

      Organizersof the event say it's more than just a social event with food and music; it's away to let families of homicides that they are not alone.

      It's beenalmost a year since Monalisa Benjamin lost her only son. Last July, 27-year-oldDeandre Benjamin was killed at gunpoint in downtown Charleston.

      Benjaminsays getting by each day without him is a struggle.

      "Some daysyou feel like you can take on the world, and the next day you feel like I justdon't want to be bothered," Benjamin said.

      AtRiverfront Park, dozens of families who lost a loved one to a violent crimegathered at the 14th annual homicide survivors' picnic. Food and conversationhelped survivors like Benjamin.

      "This hasbeen really good for me to interact with other people who are going through thesame thing that I am going through," she said.

      After thepicnic those who attended were offered other services to help them throughoutthe rest of the year.

      "We alsohave free weekly support groups for folks that want to come together and meetother survivors and get support," said Alyssa Rheingold, a clinicalpsychologist at the Medical University.

      Benjaminsays counseling may not take away the pain, but it gives her strength toconquer each day.

      "It reallyhelps you through such a tragic journey because, I think, it's a pin that willnever go away but it's a pain that will subside," Benjamin said.

      The eventwas organized by MUSC and local law enforcement agencies.

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