"Christopher lived large": Parents of kayaker who died at Harrison Bay remember their son
Christopher Goodine was 27 years old when he drowned last Sunday, but that's not how his parents want to remember him.
The family of a kayaker who drowned at Harrison Bay sat down with Channel 3 to talk about their son for the first time since the accident.
Christopher Goodine was 27 years old when he drowned last Sunday, but that's not how his parents want to remember him. They said Chris lived a full life and died doing what he loved.
"l hear him talking to me," said his mother, Karen George, as she and her husband looked at pictures of their son.
The memories make them smile and even laugh.
Karen said her son Chris loved the outdoors and practically grew up on the water. He and his girlfriend Ashleigh loved to explore.
"They were always, most weekends, hiking, or swimming, or boating, just outdoors," said Karen.
Chris and Ashleigh were at Harrison Bay swimming and kayaking when his kayak tipped over.
Karen and her husband were at home in Oak Ridge when Chris' girlfriend called. Chris was not wearing a life jacket and was tangled in the weeds.
"That one time they forgot them and thought they would stay close to the shore,” Karen said. “Had I known he would not have been in the water that day, but he was doing what he loved."
That's not the memory they choose to think about. They said Chris was a fighter his whole life. Sitting next to printed memories is a box of Skittles. It was his favorite snack when he was undergoing chemotherapy. Chris was a two time survivor of lymphoma cancer.
"Christopher lived large,” said Karen with a smile. “Because of his survivor-ship with cancer he felt he was invincible."
Now they are celebrating his life one memory, one smile, one picture, and one box of Skittles at a time.
"His laugh, his sense of adventure, his outdoor-ism, his enjoyment of every moment of life," said Karen.
Instead of flowers the family is asking the community to send Skittles to patients at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital, the hospital that helped Chris.
You can also donate to a memorial fund for the hospital in Chris’s honor.