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‘One of the sweetest little boys’: Family friend remembers child killed at Okanagan campground


Ruveen Strogryn will be forever changed by the three-year-old boy whose life was cut short last weekend in a “freak accident” at an Okanagan Lake campground.

“He was one of the sweetest little boys I’ve ever met,” Strogryn said of Kash Bakker, who died July 31 at Okanagan Lake Park campground.

“I feel very lucky that I got to know him. He was so curious and playful and kind and sweet and inquisitive. I was so excited to spend more time with our daughter’s new friend. We had all these plans.”

Stogryn had been camping with the Bakkers for several days when tragedy struck.

Click to play video: 'Child killed by falling tree at Okanagan campground'

Child killed by falling tree at Okanagan campground

The Bakker’s youngest boy Kash, 3, was killed when an old log rolled over him.

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Stogryn said it was not a “tree fall” that killed the child, as previously described by officials, but, rather, a log that had been on the ground for quite some time.

“I don’t know the circumstances of what happened, how it happened… It’s all being investigated,” she said. “It’s honestly just a freak accident and that is my understanding at this point.”

Strogryn, a nurse, didn’t see the accident unfold.

“My daughter and I were at the playground when it first happened, and we just heard the screams of horror and my husband came running up, screaming, ‘Nurse Ruveen, Nurse Ruveen,’ and I knew there was something wrong,” she said.

Click to play video: 'RCMP highlight risks of paddleboarding without a lifejacket'

RCMP highlight risks of paddleboarding without a lifejacket

People first on the scene had already started CPR to revive the small boy when she arrived. Stogryn took over until the ambulance arrived and transported him to Kelowna General Hospital. He died shortly thereafter.

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Her focus right now is the boy’s family and helping them through their terrible loss.

“This is a full-trauma experience,” she said. “Our lives are changed forever. Their lives are changed forever. We want to help them forever. We’ll think about Kash forever.

“Truly, our sole focus is just wanting to help the family because nothing that we do or say, even our fundraising efforts … will ever help this pain.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. hockey player pursues dream after losing both parents'

B.C. hockey player pursues dream after losing both parents

The fundraiser was launched earlier this week and is more than halfway to its $50,000  goal aimed at alleviating some of the strain from this time of hardship.

The Bakkers have three sons who were older than Kash and they are all trying to be strong for each other.

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“They’re having a very, very difficult time,” Stogryn said. “It’s was not supposed to be like this.

“It was such a beautiful time. And it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Meanwhile, BC Parks officials say an investigation into the circumstance is underway.

Whether the investigation into the incident will offer reassurances about the current safety of trees, live or already downed, at Okanagan Lake South campground remains to be seen.

In an emailed statement, BC Parks said dangerous tree assessments are typically conducted every spring before individual park openings.

“Certified assessors search for trees within reach of identified targets that have visual hazards and potential for failure,” reads the statement.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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