Friends rally support for family of West Kelowna woman who died on Okanagan Lake | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Friends rally support for family of West Kelowna woman who died on Okanagan Lake

Christine Sebesta (Corbett) lost her life, while camping with her family at Bear Creek campground in Kelowna on Sept. 4.
September 06, 2020 - 12:50 PM

Loved ones of a West Kelowna woman who died unexpectedly while paddleboarding on Okanagan Lake are trying to raise funds that will allow her husband and two children to get by in the wake of this personal tragedy.

Christine Sebesta died during a camping trip with her family at Bear Creek campground in Kelowna on Sept. 4.

"Christine was the most kind, loving and dedicated mother wife daughter, sister, and friend," friend Alisa Dafoe and sister Cathy Corbett said in a GoFundMe account.

Christine loved being in the water and recently had taken up paddleboarding. On Sept.  4 she and two friends paddled Okanagan Lake.

"About an hour into their paddle Christine had fallen off her board, which normally would have been ok for her, but something was wrong," Dafoe and Corbett said.

"She expressed that she did not feel right, Christine proceeded to flip and attempt to re-mount her board just like she had done a hundred times in the past, however, this time she slipped down under the water and emerged unconscious."

Her friends contacted her husband and emergency services and they were able to get her onto a boat which drove to shore, they said. 

Rocky terrain and log booms prevented Christine from being transferred from the boat to an ambulance and after more than 45 minutes of first aid and attempts at resuscitation on the boat, there was nothing more that could be done.

The family is dealing with a great deal of grief and their struggle will be more pronounced due to the fact that Christine's husband had been laid off for the last six months and she has two exceptional teenagers.

"Brayden is 17 years old and is a Special Olympics swimming hopeful in Berlin 2022,"  Dafoe and Corbett said.

"Michael Sebesta is 15 years old and overcame his learning challenges and disabilities to become the West Kelowna Male Ambassador 2019/ 2020 representing his city and community throughout B.C."

Christine, they said, devoted her life to her boys and her husband, who was set to start a new job on the north coast. That is no longer possible.

With no life or mortgage insurance for Christine, the GoFundMe will help with funeral costs and emergency travel, homeschooling costs, counselling and support for their family and some financial relief.

Thus far, $14,555 was raised of the $50,000 goal.

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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