SURREY — Family and friends of Raphael Alcoreza are preparing to say goodbye to him.
A funeral for the Surrey teen, who died in hospital Dec. 7 after collapsing during a basketball game the previous week, will be held Wednesday morning (Dec. 20, 11 a.m. start) at St. Bernadette Parish, on 132nd Street in Newton.
The Catholic church is located just north of Panorama Ridge Secondary, where Alcoreza was a Grade 12 student.
“We don’t know if the place will hold everyone because we’re not yet sure how many people will be there,” school principal Kevin De Boice told the Now-Leader on Monday.
“We know it’ll be a lot of people, and we’re told it holds around 1,000 people, with standing room,” he added. “We’ll have (school) staff there making sure that once it’s full, the rest of the kids go back to the school. They have school still happening there (at St. Bernadette), so they don’t want a bunch of people in the hallway.”
Viewings will be held tonight (Monday) and Tuesday at Victory Memorial Park funeral home in South Surrey, De Boice added.
The exact cause of Alcoreza’s death is not yet known, he said.
“I talked to the dad yesterday and the family is waiting for the autopsy results, and I guess it takes awhile to get those results back,” De Boice said.
Alcoreza, a six-foot-one guard, was a team leader for the Thunder, and was pictured holding the ball, front and centre, in a recent team photo.
During an exhibition game at Holy Cross Regional High School on Nov. 28, Alcoreza complained to coaches of feeling dizzy and lightheaded. The athlete sought fresh air outside, where he collapsed due to cardiac arrest. Rushed to hospital by ambulance, Alcoreza spent the next eight days at Royal Columbian Hospital before he died, surrounded by family and friends.
At gofundme.com, a page called “Support Raphael Alcoreza’s Family” has raised close to $36,000 since it was created by Alumni Basketball on Dec. 5.