Duncan McRae is being remembered as a 13-year-old boy who loved life.
McRae was killed Tuesday in a "freak" longboarding accident.
"He was an absolute spark," said Duncan’s father Sandy McRae.
"You see all these, these kids behind, they're here because of that … anybody that knew him loved him."
A makeshift memorial now marks the spot where the boy died. He was longboarding down a steep alley when he struck a wire barrier, injuring his larynx.
There has been a steady stream of visitors to the spot as friends and family lay down flowers, pictures and other things to celebrate Duncan’s life.
"It's unbelievable that these children would do this for our son," said Duncan’s mom Allison McRae, as she stood in front of the memorial to her son.
Duncan had played all-star baseball this summer, and had just had his first hockey game of the season. The family had just spent the summer golfing, fishing and boating — all favourite activities of Duncan’s.
"He was getting ready to start his first year bantam season and get ready for Grade 8," said Allison.
Duncan’s parents say the young athlete loved school for the social aspect, as well as sports. Many of Duncan’s classmates were at the memorial Wednesday.
"It's heartbreaking, really. It's so hard to think that someone you know has passed away. It's just so heartbreakting," said 13-year-old Becca Micklethwaite.
Sandy said he’s hoping Duncan’s friends will be able to move on.
"We're worried about the boys that were with him," said Sandy.
Both parents said they have been blessed with the way the community has surrounded them.
"We all get through this by sharing the stories and gaining that strength. That’s just the way it has to be, because it’s awful. Nobody knows what to say, and neither do we," said Sandy.
Duncan also leaves behind a sister, 16-year-old Taylor, who starts Grade 12 this year.
A memorial will be held at 3 p.m. MT Monday at the First Alliance Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made at memorial funds at Scotiabank or the Alberta Treasury Branch.
Moment of silence planned for weekend event
The longboarding community plans to pay tribute to Duncan this weekend at an event at Canada Olympic Park.
Roughly 200 longboarders — and 5,000 specatators — are expected at the international competition for the longer and wider skateboards that starts on Friday.
Competitions include boarders racing down a hill with turns — a sport that is becoming increasingly popular.
Chad Hason, one of the organizers, says the tragic loss of a young person who loved the activity is hard to take.
"The fact that it's a [13-year-old]
boy that was wearing his helmet, and has been through clinics and was basically doing the steps that the IGSA promotes in order to be safe in the sport just makes it that much more tragic," he said.
"The term 'freak accident' is really the only way you can explain it. The fact that it happened to a longboarder — yah, it affects everybody."
Hason says there will be a moment of silence at some point during the weekend, flags will be at half mast and there will also be a memorial for cards and flowers.