People will gather at the Yelm Skate Park on Aug. 21 to honor Collin McLaren, an 18-year-old from Yelm High School who died on May 1 as a result of fentanyl poisoning.
McLaren’s mother, Karisa Carpenter, is hosting the “Skate for Collin” event, which will run from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
“Collin loved skateboarding when he was a little boy and as he grew older, he found his love of football,” Carpenter said. “He began playing for TCYFL Tornados when he was 7 years old and continued football until the pandemic shut everything down his sophomore year of high school.”
Carpenter said her son regained his love for skating because he needed a physical outlet when classes shifted online and sports were put on hold. She said he got the hang of skating quickly and began practicing every chance he could.
“He told friends that one day he would be in Thrasher Magazine and achieved that goal thanks to his mentor and skate photographer Josh James,” Carpenter said.
McLaren, however, began experimenting with marijuana and alcohol with his friends, something that escalated during the pandemic. While he was against taking pills or getting heavily involved in drugs following conversations with his mom, Carpenter said he eventually gave into peer pressure.
“He tried his first Xanax that he got from a friend. From there he began self-medicating his anxiety with Xanax off and on, and ‘Perc 30s,’ were introduced,” Carpenter said.
This eventually led to his death after McLaren took a lethal dose of illicit fentanyl, spurring on the event that aims to raise awareness of fentanyl poisoning.
“My intention is to educate and spread awareness to kids, parents, and communities about what ‘fake pills,’ and illicit fentanyl is and how it makes its way into our kid’s hands,” Carpenter said. “I also want to educate about Narcan, where to get it, and what it is.”
Narcan can treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations.
Carpenter said she hopes the event impacts the youth in the community and shows them that sobriety is cooler than drugs.
“We want to teach and spread awareness while honoring Collin and his love for skating,” Carpenter said.
She added the idea for the event came from her significant other, Josh James, who is well known in the skating industry. James was able to get brands to donate skateboards, clothing, hats and stickers for the event.
There will be a best trick competition among other competitions at the event. Free pizza and hot dogs will be served and there will be live music as well.
“We have received so much support from those in the skate industry and our community,” Carpenter said. “Collin was loved by many, and I am excited to see how many folks stop by and see us Sunday the 21st at the Yelm Skate Park.”
Attendees are invited to bring their own lawn chairs and relax. If anyone who has been affected by fentanyl wants to speak, they can reach out to Carpenter on Facebook.
All of the donations and proceeds of the event will be donated to Lost Voices of Fentanyl.