Tearful family mourn Calgary teen killed in freak longboarding accident
Friends and family took to social media to mourn 13-year-old Duncan McRae, killed in a freak longboarding accident in Millrise on Tuesday August 28, 2012. #shredforduncan was trending across Calgary hours after news of his death. Surrounded by children at a roadside memorial, the parents of a young boy who died tragically while longboarding thanked the kids for “overwhelming” support. “You see all these kids behind,” father Sandy McRae said as he gestured to a tearful crowd. “They’re here because of that. “Anybody that knew him, loved him.” Sandy’s son Duncan died Tuesday in what the grieving father characterized as a “freak accident” after striking a curb and then a post and cable fence while longboarding down an alley favoured by the neighbourhood boarding crowd. An off-duty paramedic who was nearby performed CPR while they waited for an ambulance.
“They tried their best,” said Duncan’s mother Allison, who thanked the paramedic. The 13-year-old boy was pronounced dead at the hospital. On Wednesday, dozens of children from Samuel W. Shaw school where Duncan was enrolled and would have begun Grade 8 next week made a pilgrimage from across southwest Calgary and gathered quietly, swapping stories and consoling one another. Some brought teddy bears. Others carried flowers. One quiet girl handed Allison a single yellow flower. “It’s unbelievable that these children would do this for our son,” she said between her tears. “There are just no words.” Allison said her son was eager to begin the school year. “Obviously the most important part of school was the socialization with his friends, and the sports,” she said. The outpouring came as no surprise to Duncan’s aunt, Carmelle Watson. “He touched everyone, young and old,” said Watson. “There wasn’t a person who was in a room with Duncan that wasn’t smiling. “He was amazing, an amazing kid.” In small groups among the crowd, friends spoke of Duncan as a Bo Jackson of amateur sports, who spent his free time playing baseball, football, hockey and would take up golf, wakeboard and longboard throughout the summer. David Collins, 13, had travelled up through the grades with Duncan since Kindergarten. He remembered his friend as a courageous boy never afraid to stick up for himself. “He taught me about bravery,” said Collins. A funeral for Duncan is tentatively scheduled for next week. A memorial fund in Duncan’s name has been established through ScotiaBank and Alberta Treasury Branch, with the family asking for donations in lieu of flowers. Details for the fund have yet to be established but family say it will likely go towards a scholarship or charity in Duncan’s name.