LA CROSSE, Wis. -- -

Friends and family of a La Crosse woman murdered earlier this year are honoring her memory.

Kristen Rodgers, a 35-year-old La Crosse woman, was found dead in a north side alley back in March.

Her convicted killer, Izelia Golatt, was sentenced on Friday to life in prison for her death.

Investigators said she had met Golatt to buy drugs.

On Saturday, a benefit was held in La Crosse to honor Rodgers' life and raise money to help others who are struggling with addiction.

Her best friend said raising money to help others battling addiction is exactly what Kristen would want.

"Kristen was fighting for the last five years. She fought on and off with drugs and alcohol and her thought was when she was going to fight she was going to help others and try and help others with their addictions," said Angie Poff, a good friend of Rodgers.

Rodgers' mother says the turnout was amazing.

She said it's important to honor her daughter by finding a way to bring some good out of a tragedy.

"It's such a wonderful cause. There's so many people that are addicted and they don't have a lot of insurance or money so that's what it's for. She'd be very proud," said Kathy Tabbert, Rodgers' mom.

Family and friends also released balloons into the sky to celebrate Rodgers birthday.

She would have turned 36 on Tuesday.