The family of a VIU student who died from a fall this week felt supported by the university and the young man’s workplace. The family is hoping now for some additional support from the community.
A GoFundMe page has been set up in memory of Spencer Stone Shutes, who died at Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus on Monday.
Sophie Lyle, the girlfriend of Stone’s older brother, said the family is devastated.
“He was a 21-year-old guy trying to support his mom and keep their household running and was working and going to school and trying to live his life as best he could given the pressure on him,” said Lyle.
Stone was taking computer science at VIU and worked for Shaw in technical support. His older brother didn’t live at home, so it was Stone and his mother – who is on disability – in the household, and mother and son were “very, very close,” Lyle said.
She said there was no indication that Stone wasn’t well.
“So the way this happened was a complete shock…” she said. “The family is at this point wanting to focus more on who Spencer was.”
She said he had a great dry-wit sense of humour, liked movies and video games, and “for a 21-year-old guy, he had great taste in music.” He had small group of close, longtime friends and loved his cat Simba. He’d had a great work ethic ever since he was a newspaper carrier back when he was in elementary school.
“He was an extremely intelligent, hard-working person who cared about his family more than anything in the world,” Lyle said.
She said the family was aware of yesterday’s gathering event at VIU, but preferred not to attend. They’re private people who wouldn’t be asking for help if they didn’t need it, she said. At last count, the GoFundMe had exceeded $8,000 with a $50,000 goal.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Lyle. “The family is very, very grateful for the support and as much support as we can get is great, because it really is extremely tight financially.”
To support or view the GoFundMe page, click this link.