A Kenmore youth died the morning of May 28 after nearly drowning in Lake Washington at Seattle’s Magnuson Park on Memorial Day.
Kenmore Middle School student Ryan Payne was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in critical condition after being trapped underwater for nearly 10 minutes. Bystanders pulled the 14-year-old onto a floating dock about 100 feet from shore, according to firefighters, who said an off-duty firefighter, nurse and doctor all worked to help the teen.
Investigators are still in the process to understand the cause of Payne’s near drowning.
Payne has been described as being “always excited, proud and living life as a member of a larger team,” according to a GoFundMe campaign created to support Payne’s mother and family.
The GoFundMe donations will go toward covering emergency first response costs, emergency room medical costs, Harborview trauma hospitalization, diagnostic tests and scans, surgical procedures to save the teen’s life, funds to cover his service and funds to cover his mother missing work as a U.S. Navy nurse.
Any additional funds raised through the campaign will go toward creating a scholarship at his school in Payne’s honor. The scholarship will support passionate and vibrant children in need, especially those in military and veteran families.
Payne would have entered ninth grade at Inglemoor High School in the fall. As an avid sports player, he played on his soccer team with Northshore Youth Soccer Association, Kenmore Elementary School, KMS, North Lake Little League and the Vikings Junior Football.
Bryan Stutz, KMS’s principal, sent families an email Tuesday afternoon.
“Ryan’s impact continues to be felt deep and wide throughout our District. Here at Kenmore Middle, he was finishing eighth grade. He brought an exuberant presence that seemed to attract friends new and old. Ryan’s desire to help others was evident on a daily basis, and our school community was better because of it,” Stutz wrote.
Stutz wrote that Payne hoped to try out for football with a cadre of friends who he’d played with for years.
“Ryan was engaged and full of life. What everyone is feeling today is a testimony to who he was as a student, friend, team member and son,” his email read. “We are all terribly saddened by the sudden loss of Ryan.”
Stutz wrote that the school will have counseling available to students Wednesday.
“Even if your student didn’t know Ryan personally, the idea of death may bring up feelings from other deaths or losses experienced in the past…We will have counseling services available to our students on Wednesday,” he wrote. “In addition, Kenmore Middle School and District staff will be a caring and capable resource to students as they grieve and want to remember Ryan.”
Stutz closed his message to parents and students by encouraging kindness and patience through this time.
“In such a close-knit community on and off campus, this is a tremendous loss to all of us and it will be felt deeply. Let’s help each other through this,” he wrote. “Show extra kindness and patience. Even though Ryan is no longer with us, we can surely be led by his example.”