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New Westminster remembers young woman with an 'infectious smile'

The death of a young New Westminster woman on a Delta highway has unleashed a wave of grief in the local lacrosse community and beyond.
Remembered: Olivia Malcom was killed in a tragic accident on Saturday. She would have turned 20 on June 10.

The death of a young New Westminster woman on a Delta highway has unleashed a wave of grief in the local lacrosse community and beyond.

Olivia Malcom, her boyfriend Jake and a friend were on their way home from a junior A lacrosse game in Ladner Saturday night when they pulled into a bus stop on the side of Highway 17A just north of Ladner Trunk Road. Olivia and her friend got out to look for something in the trunk. They were at the back of the car when a Jeep, travelling northbound on Highway 17A, hit them, according to RCMP.

Olivia, 19, died at the scene and her friend, 20, was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Olivia’s family remembers her as the light of any event.

“Her smile was pretty much infectious,” aunt Bonnie Dyrndahl told the Record.

Dyrndahl said her niece was a kind, compassionate and considerate young woman. She was always willing to help out a friend or family member and never thought twice about volunteering her time, she added.

Olivia’s impact on the community is obvious in the outpouring of support and messages of condolence from the community over the past few days.

“Olivia was a shining light to all who knew her. Like the sun, her brightness was radiant and inspired positivity in those who were fortunate enough to have known her in her short time here. She was bigger than life and her lasting impact is undeniable. Her kindness will be treasured and celebrated by the New Westminster community and everyone else she touched,” read a message on a GoFundMe page set up in Olivia’s honour.

The GoFundMe campaign is raising money for the Olivia Malcom Kindness Bursary Fund, which will help students pursue a post-secondary education. It has generated more than $60,000 since Monday.

Businesses and associations touched by Olivia have all shared messages of support for the Malcom family through social media.

The B.C. Junior A Lacrosse league postponed two junior A Salmonbellies games this week in the wake of Olivia’s death, and Oxygen Yoga and Fitness New Westminster, where Olivia worked, has shuttered its doors until June 11.

The senior Salmonbellies will donate the proceeds from 50/50 sales from Thursday’s game against the Langley Thunder to the GoFundMe campaign. The Salmonbellies will also observe a moment of silence in her honour.

Olivia’s family members will also be at the game selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a Malcom or Goodwin lacrosse jersey. Money collected will also be donated to the GoFundMe campaign.

On what would have been Olivia’s 20th birthday, Sunday, June 10, a celebration of life is planned for 2 p.m. at Queen’s Park Arena. The City of New Westminster has donated the space and all are welcome to attend.

“For the city to open up the arena for them, it’s just a reflection of how special the Malcom family is to this whole city and how impactful they have been within the community for their service,” Dyrndahl said.

The New Westminster Minor Lacrosse Association has also cancelled all lacrosse games on Sunday out of respect for Olivia’s family.

“Words just can’t even explain how tragic this situation is, and I think the hardest part is just how impactful this one incident can be on, not only the family, but on a community that is just trying to stick together and trying to hold it together – how can we hold it together to be there for Bridget and Tony and Olivia and her passing and Jake and Erica,” Dyrndahl said.

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Deas Island Traffic Services and the Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service continue to investigate Saturday night’s crash.

The driver of the Jeep remained at the scene. Alcohol is suspected as a factor, according to police.

Investigators are looking for any witnesses who have not already spoken with police to contact Deas Island Traffic Services at 778-290-2400, quoting file number 2018-1802. Anyone with dash camera footage is also asked to contact RCMP.