Memorial cruise postponed due to heavy snowfall
A cruise for a 16-year-old Comox Valley friend, student, colleague and son "wise beyond his years" who died January in a longboard accident has been postponed to April 12.
The Cruise for Ciaran originally was scheduled Feb. 23, but was rescheduled until April due to the weekend snowstorm, explained committee member Dawn McQuinn.
"The cruise is about safety and awareness, and we wanted to ensure a safe cruise," she added.
McQuinn said the idea for the cruise began shortly after the passing of Ciaran Martin, a Grade 11 student at G.P. Vanier school who succumbed to his injuries Jan. 5 after he was struck by a vehicle Jan. 2.
He was travelling northbound on a longboard on Macaulay Road in Black Creek. He was not wearing a helmet.
His family donated his organs, which has given six people the gift of life.
"(The cruise) all stems from his death … to make sense of his passing, to bring awareness to both drivers and longboarders and to bring awareness to organ donation," noted McQuinn.
She added there is a perception that some longboarders can be rude to drivers, "but they're not all like that. The irony is that Ciaran was so kind, so sweet, so caring."
McQuinn said the cruise is scheduled to begin at Vanier school, head down Headquarters Road, loop into Courtenay over the 17th Street bridge, up Cliffe Avenue to the Fifth Street bridge, ending at Lewis Park.
All participants are encouraged to ride "anything with wheels" and helmets will be mandatory, McQuinn added.
"We really want kids to look drivers in the eye and realize it's not one-sided."
She explained the cruise — which will become an annual tradition — also serves a larger purpose.
"We are doing this also in hopes to have the laws around helmet use changed. It would be wonderful to see a law making helmets mandatory for longboarders."
In addition, she hopes the cruise brings more awareness to organ donation, as just a month before his death, Martin made the decision to become an organ donor.
For more information about the cruise, search for the Cruise for Ciaran Facebook page. There is also a fundraising page for the cruise and family at www.gofundme.com/Ciarans-Dream.