This story was updated at 10:56 a.m. Saturday to include additional comments made by Lanre Badmus.
Friends will honor the life of Westfield teen Mark Hollaway with a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20 at Westfield High School.
The WHS freshman died Wednesday, Jan. 16 from a flu-related illness. Friends set up a Facebook page, RIP Mark Hollaway, to pay tribute to the 14 year old. Lanre Badmus, friend of Hollaway's and co-administrator of the page, said the vigil is being organized with the blessing of Hollaway's family and added, "Please, keep the Hollaway family in your prayers."
As a tribute to Hollaway, who loved basketball, players at Friday night's Westfield vs. Scotch Plains Fanwood game wore Mark's name on their sneakers. The Blue Devils beat the Raiders 52-31.
"Mark was very committed to basketball," Badmus noted. "He loved playing the game, and he loved watching it."
While Hollaway tried out for freshman basketball, he didn't make the team, Badmus explained.
"Some members of the team said that they could have used his charisma when facing adversity," he added. "He was very shy, but also very funny whenever he did talk in his classes. It's a shame that this humble and genuine young man was robbed of the great things he would have gone on to do; the great person he would have become in this world."
This is the second time in as many months that the Westfield community has mourned the loss of a teen. In early December, WHS students gathered to remember the life and laughter of senior Allison Harth. A candlelight vigil held on Dec. 2 served as a way for friends to honor her memory.
For more information about Sunday's vigil, visit RIP Mark Hollaway. Attendees are asked to bring their own candles if possible. Volunteers are also needed to distribute flyers about the vigil throughout town. To assist, post a message on the Facebook page or pick up flyers at Panera, Five Guys, and Starbucks.