“Unfortunately, everything happened so quickly. Everybody on the beach came together as one, yet all strangers. Unfortunately, my memory becomes impaired under duress. I can't remember the faces of the other people involved.
One of the major points I remember was when Aleem lost consciousness. Your daughter (without floatation equipment) was next to Aleem and unable to do anything other than keep herself afloat. She was not swimming to safety. Up to that time, I had been trying to get all three of them to swim to the metal rod that I was trying to extend to them.
At that point, a gentleman turned up with the rescue donut. The rope on the donut may not have been long enough to reach them. He was going to fling the ring to your daughter. As your daughter was unresponsive (likely in shock), even if the donut ended up close to her, she may not have swam to it, as she didn't try to swim to the metal rod I was holding. Even if she got the donut, she would not have had the strength to save Aleem. Also, if the donut missed its target, there may not have been enough time to pull it back and try again.
The best option was to swim the donut to your daughter, then try to either pull Aleem over my shoulder or drape him over the ring and get to shore as quickly as we could.
Even as your daughter and I swam in with the rescue donut, a wave broke over us just as I took a breath. I wouldn't have survived very long without the rescue donut. Your daughter must be a good swimmer
There was also a very strong undertow that pulled you back out into the lake as you got closer to shore.”
I had finally spotted a life buoy thrown into the water by Bill who had come to the pier to help us. I grabbed ahold of Aleem while reaching for the buoy, but each time Aleem had a hold of me, a wave would hit and break us apart. As I grabbed hold of the life buoy, I was pulled back onto the pier where I looked out into the water to see my sister being pulled in and Aleem floating distantly with the waves. If Aleem hadn’t jumped in, both my sister and I wouldn’t have had the strength to make it back to shore safely. He used all his might to try and make sure we would survive.
Aleem passed away at a very young age leaving behind his mother Shamira, sister Shazin, cousins Raabia and Zeanna and aunts Fauzia and Safia. Aleem was the type of person who wouldn’t think twice about putting someone else’s life before his. He was selfless, genuine and brave. He was the pillar of our family, and always knew when we needed him. He would somehow always be there to come to our rescue. Not everyone has the ability to know their purpose on Earth, but it was very clear what Aleem’s purpose was. As hard as it is to accept that he is no longer with us, it is satisfying to know that he died doing what he knew best - to be a hero.
Aleem had been living in China for the past 6 years where he decided to teach English. Aleem took pride in sharing his education and knowledge, which led him to establishing a learning and testing centre for students to learn English, allowing them the opportunity to study abroad. He never wanted to see another person struggle and was always looking for ways to help. Due to COVID, Aleem was unable to return back to China and continue his work.
Meagan Fair reached out to our family informing us that the people of Kincardine would like to set up a GoFundMe page. These funds will help take care of funeral costs and to ensure Aleem’s students continue to receive the education they need. The people of Kincardine have graciously reached out to our family offering condolences and generosity in helping us in our time of need. In honour of Aleem, we graciously accept. Our hope is to work with the city of Kincardine in preventing another tragedy like this.
Our family would like to express our immense gratitude to the people of Kincardine, who despite all being strangers, came together as one to help us in our time of need. The two ladies running along the boardwalk that prompted others that there might be an issue. The ladies who called the emergency services. The gentleman that brought another rescue ring from the beach. The gentleman that wadded out from shore to pull us in from the water. The emergency service personnel that recovered Aleem and tirelessly performed CPR on him. Everyone had a part to play.
- Jacqui Hillerby
- Kelly kirkconnell Traci Fields
- The McLarty Family
- Hassan Khan
Organizer and beneficiary
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