Memorial for Sarmistha Sen last year. | Photo courtesy of Arindam Roy on Facebook

On Aug. 1, 2021, over 100 people gathered at a memorial run to honor Sarmistha Sen, the Plano resident who was randomly killed one year ago while jogging along the Chisholm Trail.

Sarmistha Sen was born in 1977 in India and moved to Plano in 2004. She was a clinical research manager at UT Southwestern, an avid runner, a gardener and a singer. She is succeeded by her spouse, Arindam Roy, and their two children, Neil, 13, and Ryan, 7.

A year ago, community members left over 1,000 running shoes at her memorial site after the Plano murder occurred. The shoes were then donated in her name to Garland nonprofit Trusted World. The GoFundMe page started in her memory raised over $51,000 for causes Sarmistha held dear, such as cancer awareness and environmental protection.

Since then, Arindam Roy has begun a new fundraiser on GoFundMe as part of the memorial walk for Sarmistha Sen to raise money to donate to The Sarmistha Sen Chair in Radiation Oncology Clinical Research fund (which was established in her memory) as well as other charities.

This Sunday, Sarmistha Sen’s friends and family sang songs advocating for nonviolence in several different Indian languages — Tamil, Sanskrit and Bengali (Sarmistha’s native tongue) — to honor her cultural roots.

“A few weeks before Sarmistha left us all, we had a little community event, and a vigil was taped with several of us singing the same song. That was the last video we have of Sarmistha, which we all treasure,” said a friend of Sarmistha’s, before singing a few verses from the same song.

One of the event organizers described his emotional connection to Sarmistha’s story. When he was 14 years old, he lost his dad in a shocking accident, and although it’s been 30 years since, that day is still vivid in his mind.

“Losing someone you love is never easy and it’ll never go away, but as we heard in the poem and the songs, life goes on. We have to look at the stars and the sun and smile and live each day,” he said.

Sarmistha’s son Neil described a Boy Scout trip he took this summer that reminded him of his mom. When Neil’s boat capsized, his sleeping bag was submerged in water, and he ended up shivering at night within its damp covers. He powered through by remembering how his mom would attend every Boy Scout trip, regardless of how many times she got weathered by the elements.

Arindam Roy closed off the event by thanking Sarmistha for giving him his two sons, who he calls his “lifelines,” and performing a song that he and Sarmistha liked to sing together.

A year ago, Sarmistha Sen’s son Neil posted a memorial video to his mother’s life.

A burglary suspect was charged with Sarmistha Sen’s murder in Aug. 2020.

Vaibhavi Hemasundar

Vaibhavi Hemasundar is an undergraduate at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She loves singing, film photography, and devouring book after book.