RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A vigil was held Sunday evening in Riverside to remember the 16-year-old high school football player who collapsed during practice and died several days later.
Tyler Lewellen, Arlington High School football player #33, was remembered as a great friend and teammate.
KCAL9’s Chase Cain attended the emotional gathering filled with hundreds of family and friends and classmates.
“If you want to know truly how special someone is,” reported Cain, “Sit and talk with his grandparents Geri and Bob.” The entire time Cain tried to talk to them, Tyler’s friends came up to hug and support them.
“We’re not friends, we’re brothers,” said teammate Daniel Sebia.
The reality that Tyler is gone will not soon leave members of the football squad.
“We’re going to be thinking of Tyler [all season.] He’s going to be watching over us. He’s going to be helping us the whole year through,” said Sebia.
Tyler’s mom thanked the crowd but she’s also receiving thanks. She supported Tyler’s earlier decision to be an organ donor.
“He’s going to live on — his heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, even his bone marrow, which is so rare to match. He is going to help others,” said Tina Bowes Lewellen.
Tyler’s brother just wanted to remind people that life is precious and you never know when it’s going to end.
“If you have a brother or sister, please go home tonight and just hug them. Tell them you love them — even if you fight on a daily basis — because I would give anything right now to be able to hold my brother and tell him that — but I can’t,” said Tyler’s brother Marcus.
At the end of the vigil, green balloons — representing people with brain injuries — were released.