'So much love': Ceremonies held to remember B.C. man who died of rare rabies infection
Two celebrations of life were held for Nick Major this weekend, the young Vancouver Island man who died from rabies last month.
The Parksville resident contracted rabies in May after swatting a bat away on the side of the highway on his way home from Tofino.
He developed symptoms six weeks later but by that time it was too late to administer post-exposure treatment. He died on July 13.
At two ceremonies held on the weekend, Nick was remembered as a pillar of the community and a dedicated Tae Kwan Do instructor at Cascadia Martial Arts.
More than 600 people attended the first ceremony held on Saturday, said Carmen Major, Nick's mother.
"The second one was on Sunday which was a smaller more intimate celebration with his closest 200 friends and family," she said. "Both celebrations were filled with so much love."
Many parents talked about how they hoped their children would grow up to be of Nick’s calibre one day.
“Many spoke with heartfelt memories and stories of the positive impact Nicholas had in their lives. He was such an amazing young man and as his mother I couldn't be more proud of my son. He has left an incredible legacy!” said Carmen.
Nick's 18-year-old sister Serena Major previously said it was hard to put into words how the loss of her brother has impacted the family.
"Nicholas, he wasn't only just my big brother, but he was my best friend. Him and I did so much together and we had so many plans to still do together," she said. "I just want everyone to know that he was the best big brother and person and best friend that anybody could've had."
A GoFundMe page has been started to help Nick's family deal with the fallout of his death and has raised nearly $23,000 of its $25,000 goal.
Fatal rabies infections from bats are extremely rare. Only 26 people have died from rabies in Canada since the 1920s, according to Health Canada.
Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to rabies is urged to remove any contaminated clothing, wash any wounds with soap and water and immediately see a health care provider or go to a hospital.