Hundreds of people turned out to say their final goodbyes to Matthew Schreindorfer, a Laval man who captivated the hearts of Quebecers as he sought treatment for leukemia, at candlelit public ceremony Sunday night.
Among the crowd were his friends, family and people who were inspired by his story.
After being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in August 2014, Schreindorfer and his wife, Katia Luciani, raised over $835,000 to undergo an experimental T-cell treatment.
At first they announced that the treatment had worked, but in January 2016 doctors once again found cancer cells in his bone marrow.
Just over two weeks ago, his family announced he had died. He was 27.
"His strength was exceptional. He helped many other people during his struggle," said family friend Anna Gentile.
"I believe Matthew will be remembered now, and forever."
Support has been heartwarming, says sister
During the ceremony at The Remembrance Gardens, a memorial park in Laval, a public plaque reading "Never quit fighting, loving and inspiring," was unveiled in Schreindorfer's memory.
Many in the crowd shared their memories of Schreindorfer, including co-worker Robert Sherren, who spoke about his smile and infectious, distinctive laugh.
"It drove you crazy, but how could you complain about a laugh like that?"
For Stephanie Schreindorfer, Matthew's sister, the public support has been heartwarming.
"I don't even have the words to describe the amount of love and support that was surrounding us today. It's incredible," she said.
The family is asking the public to donate blood, platelets or become a bone marrow donor so that others can continue their fight.