Doorsteps lit up with candles to support family of Kelowna toddler who was fatally struck by car - InfoNews

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Doorsteps lit up with candles to support family of Kelowna toddler who was fatally struck by car

A picture of Gaige and his father, Mark Banman, from the GoFundMe.
April 23, 2020 - 10:26 AM

Hundreds of doorsteps around Kelowna and beyond were brightened with the warm glow of a candle Wednesday night as people expressed their support for the family that lost its youngest member in tragic circumstances.

“The response was heartwarming,” Victoria Sweetman, the organizer of the candle light-up said.

Hundreds of people took part and posted photos of their candles burning on the Facebook page she'd set up.

“I did not count the posts… (there were) so many,” Sweetman said.

Sweetman came up with the idea for the candle light-up for Gaige Banman, one and a half, and his family when she realized how the quarantine had limited the normal channels of grief for the toddler, who died just after 2:45 p.m. April 19 when he was struck by a car in the 500 block of McCurdy Road.

“I am just wanting them to have the type of support from the community they need and deserve,” Sweetman said.

“The community needs a way to let the Banman family know that they are in our thoughts and prayers. If this is all we can do at this time, I hope it can bring some comfort.”

The family did learn of the community gesture, and the toddler’s mother posted a picture of the candle, herself.

“You blessed me with so many memories in such a small amount of time forever in my heart and my soul,” she wrote.

Gaige Banman was one and a half years old when he was tragically struck by a car in Kelowna.

A GoFundMe account set up for the family for funeral expenses, food and other household costs was set at $7,000 and has now surpassed $17,000.

It's unclear what the circumstances of the fatal crash involve, but the B.C. Coroners Service has been notified and is investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s sudden death.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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