Almost 200 teenagers attended a memorial at Paige Field in Coventry Wednesday evening.
They came on bikes, on roller blades, scooters and skateboards to remember 13-year-old Jacob ‘Jake' Aversa, a Feinstein Middle School 8th grader and avid skateboarder who died following multiple heart attacks last week.
Edwards said, "It's just so sad ‘cuz when you're friends with someone and you're like ‘Hi and goodbye in the hallways, and the next day you can't even talk to them anymore, he'll never walk down the halls of our school anymore. And if you were friends with him you would know why it was so hard to deal with. He was such a good kid and made everybody laugh," said fellow classmate Amber Edwards.
It wasn't hard to find a nice way for hundreds of teenage friends to honor Jake. Jake's buddies say the idea to hold the memorial service at the Coventry Skate Park was a no brainer, given Jake's passion in life.
Friends said Jake spent ‘most of his life' rolling up and down the ramps on something with wheels.
A fellow skateboarder took the time to post carefully edited video of Jake tackling the same Coventry skate park where his friends mourned him on Wednesday, with ease, grace and, of course, style.
"His favorite hobby was to come to the skate park to skate, bike and scooter. He was good at everything, and that's why we're all here, to do what he did best," said Andrew Derrick.
Dozens of teens had messages like, "We miss you Jake," or "R.I.P. Jake," or "Jake 9-9-2013" scrolled in colored Sharpies all over their hands and arms.
Jake's family said they have been overwhelmed by the response from the Coventry community, but especially from teens and parents who are part of the skateboarding crew.
"I think the turnout was amazing. I think I owe all of this to all these children who came and participated in this because he was so loved, and I could not have done this without the support and love that came from these amazing children. I wanted the kids to be able to channel their energy, and all of their questions, their frustrations, and their anger all in a positive way, and I wanted him to be remembered and celebrated instead of crying a lot," said Jake's aunt Cynthia Scott.
Many of the middle school students are struggling with the reality of the tragic loss. "When he went into a coma, we didn't expect this to happen, we expected him to come out of it, and like everyone was on Facebook writing about how we missed him so much, so that was the last thing I expected to happen," said Noah Lapinsky.
To make the family's heartache even more difficult to bear, Jake's own father passed away in 2006, when Jake was only 4-years-old.
One family member said when Jacob passed away he also saved four other lives in the process. Jake was an organ donor.
The family is also encouraging everyone to learn CPR.
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