A Surrey teenager who was killed by a falling tree during a violent storm on Friday is being remembered as a “beautiful soul.”
A friend of his family has identified the teen as Shakir Salaam, a 16-year-old student at Clayton Heights Secondary in Surrey.
“Shakir Salaam’s beautiful soul and kindness touched so many lives and he was taken too soon at only 16,” reads a message attached to a GoFundMe campaign that was launched to help the family with funeral costs.
Surrey RCMP said the tree fell around 2:25 p.m. Friday, in a wooded park near Clayton Heights Secondary, pinning the Shakir.
Surrey Fire Service Deputy Chief Larry Thomas said four firefighters were able to remove the tree from the student and immediately began administering first aid. B.C. Ambulance soon arrived and paramedics took him to hospital, but he did not survive.
The RCMP and the B.C. Coroners Service are investigating and urged people to stay out of wooded areas during storms.
Shakir’s death is believed to be the first fatality related to the storms hammering the B.C. south coast this week.
The GoFundMe campaign, launched Saturday by a friend who had spoken to the family, hoped to raise $7,500 for the family to cover funeral expenses, meals for the family, and counselling services.
That goal was reached Saturday morning, and was increased to $15,000 and then $20,000 “in hopes I can set up a rugby scholarship/grant in Shakir’s name” the friend said on the GoFundMe page. “I am overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring, kind offers from people and the community to assist in anyway they can … Thank you from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of his family & friends.”
By Saturday afternoon, the campaign had raised over $16,000.
“Shakir played rugby at Clayton Heights and let’s challenge all rugby schools around the Lower Mainland to donate to his memorial fund,” the message said.
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