Friends, family and supporters of a slain teenager gathered at South Surrey Skate Park Saturday to honour the memory of a “good, awesome dude.”
The occasion was Dario Jam, a second annual event created in the honour of Dario Bartoli, whose Dec. 13, 2014 murder remains unsolved.
“It really brings out a smile on my face, because all these people – in their hearts and minds – are believing that Dario is here and skateboarding,” said Ian Ireland, 17, an Earl Marriot Secondary student and friend of Bartoli.
The youth-run afternoon event celebrated Bartoli’s passions in a park he would visit nearly every day, according to friends. Skateboarding, BMX and scooter jams and demos were part of the event, along with raffles, food, prizes and DJ music. Dozens of riders – many wearing Dario Jam T-shirts – flocked to the park for the event.
All donations collected and proceeds from the afternoon will go to Semiahmoo Animal League Inc., which helps at-risk children.
Bartoli was killed Dec. 13, 2014, after an early-morning altercation in or near Bakerview Park left him with critical injuries. Bartoli was transported to Peace Arch Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries later that morning.
Friends remember Bartoli as the life of the party, and someone who could easily put smiles on faces.
“Dario stood out from anybody. His glow would just shine the room,” said Ireland. “He was just so nice to people.”
Ireland said support for this year’s event doubled from last year, and seeing the many supporters in the park was especially meaningful for Bartoli’s close friends.
“It really means a lot to me because for me personally, I think about him almost every single day.”
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, who attended the Sept. 10 event, told Peace Arch News she remembers the memorial service for Bartoli, and said the impact he had on his friends was profound.
Hepner called the teen’s mother, June Iida, “the bravest and most courageous woman I know,” and said the large crowd at the event was a testament to who Bartoli was.
“It says to me that even at a young age, you can make a lasting impact on your friends. So many of his friends came there.”