By Lyonel Doherty
The one thing that helps Kelaya Allison-Squakin get through her day is knowing that Aidan Pratt is watching over her from heaven.
Not a day goes by that the 18-year-old Oliver woman doesn’t think about her dear friend who died from a suspected case of meningitis in October.
“He protected me forever. If anything happened to me, he would go out of his way to protect me.”
Allison-Squakin will never forget the day she met Aidan at Similkameen Elementary Secondary School in Keremeos. It was her first day and this boy walked up to her and introduced himself.
“He was the first person who talked to me,” she said, noting this boy opened her eyes to the true meaning of friendship.
Allison-Squakin said Aidan made friends wherever he went, and if someone had a bad day, he was quick to change their outlook on life, making it brighter.
She described Aidan as a real adventurer because he travelled all over Canada to experience “crazy” adventures.
“For his age, he lived a fuller life than most adults.”
Aidan soaked up so much knowledge from the people he met on these adventures, which made him love life even more.
Hiking, hunting, fishing and snowboarding were his favourite pastimes.
Allison-Squakin said Aidan had no set plan in life, but made his own path and excelled at everything he did.
What she liked is how Aidan made her feel. “He made sure everyone knew me,” she said, noting she is who she is today because of him.
Cooper Smith, another of Aidan’s close friends, said his buddy was always excited and ready to try new things.
“You would come up with any idea or request and he would say, ‘let’s do it.’”
Smith said Aidan was a real people person, hanging out with someone different every day.
“I’ve lived in Oliver all my life and he introduced me to many people.”
Smith’s fondest memory of Aidan came two days before his death when they went to Kelowna for the weekend to see some friends.
“It was a really good weekend.”
What will he miss most about Aidan?
“Just his attitude and personality,” Smith said without hesitation.
Commenting on Aidan’s illness, Allison- Squakin expressed her belief that the medical professionals who dealt with him “dropped the ball” on his health care.
She referred to Aidan’s visit to the hospital and his doctor, and how Interior Health is dealing with the matter. Like the family, she believes Aidan should have been tested for meningitis when he started showing signs and symptoms of the disease.
“He went to people for help . . . no one listened. He had a lot to live for, and they ruined that for him.”
Allison-Squakin said her friendship with Aidan will never be replaced because it was so unique.
His laughter and just being able to sit with him is what she will miss most.
She has the feeling that Aidan is watching her and that she will see him again some day.