An online crowdfunding campaign has been launched for a Cole Harbour family dealing with an unthinkable loss.
Clayton Herasimenko died suddenly on Friday due to a brain aneurysm. He was 16 years old.
Family friend Leanne Shaw says he was admitted to the hospital on June 13, when he started having a bad headache.
“They had no idea (the aneurysm) was even there,” Shaw said. “I was talking to him earlier in the day and he didn’t complain about anything, and then we got the call around six o’clock.”
“It’s been a very tough week.”
Clayton had surgery to try and correct the problem, but wasn’t showing signs of improvement and was placed on life support.
He leaves behind his parents, younger brother, three sisters and many other friends and family members.
Clayton was in Grade 11 at Auburn Drive High School and was an avid basketball player in the North Preston area and abroad.
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“It was definitely one of his biggest passions,” Shaw said. “He travelled tons for basketball and made so many friends.”
Colter Simmonds, the head coach of Auburn’s basketball team, says Clayton was a “special, outgoing and friendly kid.”
“He was just a charismatic and fun guy to be around,” Simmonds said. “He was a small guy with a big heart. Had a little bit of an edge to him on the basketball court, which I liked about him.
“It’s unbelievable the amount of people that are supporting and connected to him that you never even knew he was connected to.”
Shaw says Clayton’s mother was still on maternity leave with her eight-month-old daughter when she learned the news.
Shaw launched the fundraiser shortly after to try and give the family one less thing to worry about.
So far, the GoFundMe page has raised over $12,000.
“They’re a large family, and let’s face it, Nova Scotia’s hard enough to live in with two incomes. I knew they were going to need help,” Shaw said. “The family is extremely thankful for everybody who’s stopped by and offered help.”
Several other fundraisers have been set up in the community over the coming days to assist with funeral costs.
Simmonds says one of his former players has reached out to him and wants to start a memorial event to ensure that Clayton’s legacy remains at the high school for years to come.