Raphael Alcoreza, a Grade 12 all-star high school basketball player from Surrey has died, a week after going into cardiac arrest during a game.
More than 125 friends, teammates, teachers, coaches and community members packed the halls and waiting rooms of the Royal Columbian Hospital ICU unit Thursday night as Acoreza was taken off life support.
"The outpouring was huge last night when we knew death was imminent," said Kevin De Boice, the principal at Ecole Panorama Ridge. "Raff was so well loved. He wasn't just a jock."
Alcoreza, 17, and his teammates were playing a senior boys basketball game against Holy Cross when five minutes into the game he told coaches he felt dizzy. Shortly after that, Alcoreza said he needed some air and headed outside the gym — where he collapsed.
Coaches, Alcoreza's parents and three brothers all rushed to him as they waited for first responders to arrive. He was rushed to Surrey Memorial in cardiac arrest and was later taken to Royal Columbian.
De Boice said doctors found that Alcoreza had had a heart issue since birth.
"He was a basketball all-star. His goal was to play professional basketball in the Philippines," said De Boice. "And he wanted to be a fireman."
Alcoreza was deeply involved in Surrey's Filipino community and volunteered for multiple organizations, according to De Boice.
A GoFundMe campaign that was started a few days ago by two former students of the high school to support the Alcoreza family has so far raised almost $25,000.