Friends of Athena Gervais call for complete ban on sugary, high-alcohol drinks
Funeral service for Laval high school student held in hometown Saturday
Athena Gervais's friends boarded a bus together to make the almost six-hour trip from Laval to her hometown, Saint-Félicien, to attend her funeral and say goodbye.
Standing close together, placing their hands on one another for support, the group described her as "a ball of energy" — someone they could confide in without hesitation.
Alexandre Boulanger said Gervais wasn't someone who clamoured for attention, but was always there to make others feel better.
"It's destroying all of us that she's not here anymore, but she would want us to smile," he said.
Audrey Beauchesne said Gervais was one of her best friends, one who would never let you get down on yourself.
"She never wanted us to cry, she'd say 'Let's brush it off and get out of here,'" she said.
'Disgusted' by high-alcohol drinks
Gervais was found in a stream near her school on March 1, three days after she went missing.
Police are awaiting a toxicology report to determine if she had been drinking. Investigators have said alcohol may have been a factor.
The Geloso group also said it wants the Quebec government to ban the sale of beverages containing more than 10.5% alcohol.
But Gervais's friends said they are angry and want this type of drink banned from the market altogether.
Alexandre Rousseau said he started crying when he walked into a convenience store and saw a can of FCKD UP, just steps away from the funeral parlour.
"I wanted to buy it just to be able to throw it as far as I could," he said.
Petition gets 7,000 signatures
Audrey Beauchesne said girls her age can be tempted to drink these types of drinks, even if they aren't interested in beer.
"This is fruit juice mixed with alcohol," she said, adding that the taste entices young people to go back for more.
Alexandre Boulanger said they have seen some backlash from people saying the drinks are fine if they are consumed in moderation.
"If we take the chance to save at least one life, it will have been worth it," he said.
He said he hopes his friend's death prompts people of all ages to take a closer look at their alcohol consumption habits.
With files from Radio-Canada's Priscilla Plamondon Lalancette