A GoFundMe has been set up for a father of two who drowned trying to help his son after the tube they were floating in flipped in a Maple Ridge river.
Bakir Junaideen, 57, died Wednesday night at Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge.
Mohamed Razi, whose mother was a cousin to Junaideen, and whom Razi considered an uncle, has started a fundraising campaign for Junaideen’s wife Farzana, and their two sons Nabeel, 12, and Zaid, nine.
He described Junaideen as a “consummate IT professional” who was self employed and owned his own computer web design and graphics business.
Junaideen, a Burnaby resident, came to Canada from Sri Lanka 25 years ago, said Razi, adding that they lived together for a period of time while Junaideen moved his family to the country.
“He was a brilliant individual,” said Razi.
Razi described Junaideen as some one who always had a calm demeanour, a person who was really friendly and personable, and just a really nice guy.
He said his son, Zaid, is doing “OK” following the accident.
Razi said he was able to speak to Zaid briefly and the youngster told him how he went on a tube ride with his father and that they fell and he survived but his father did not. He also described how the police came and asked him lots of questions.
“He still doesn’t seem to understand the enormity of the situation, obviously, because of his age,” Razi said.
However, he did tell Razi his dad was a hero for saving him.
On the GoFundMe page Razi recounted the day on Sunday, July 31, when Junaideen went tubing with his family in the Davidson’s Pool area along the Alouette River.
He said his uncle had invited a few close friends and their families to join them at the park adjoining the river.
Razi described Junaideen as a “long-standing” Vancouver resident who was fond of doing outdoor activities with his family and friends.
“The river was full of people having fun and Bakir was the first from his group to start tubing with his youngest son, Zaid,” said Razi recounted on the GoFundMe page.
At first, he said, it was fun moving through the rapids and rocks until Zaid’s tube capsized. Junaideen instantly jumped into the river to rescue his son.
Bystanders noticed the commotion in the water and were able to rescue Zaid, but no one noticed that Junaideen did not emerge from the water.
“It was Farzana who raised the alarm that her husband was missing and many people started diving into the water in search of Bakir,” said Razi.
Two off duty firefighters were able to pull Junaideen from the water and start CPR and at around 3:20 p.m. Razi said he was rushed to Ridge Meadows Hospital. However, he was unresponsive and reliant on a ventilator.
His family was eventually told that doctors had no hope Bakir would recover as his brain and other vital organs were not functioning.
Junaideen was the main breadwinner for his family, said Razi, and his source of income was integral for the family’s operational expenses.
Razi wants to raise money to help Junaideen’s family with their short and long-term needs including rent, food, medicine, children’s expenses like sports activities.
Since the fundraiser was started on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 245 people have donated $21,647 in 22 hours.
The goal of the campaign is $50,000.
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