The family of 18-year-old Emma Machado is mourning the loss of a daughter and sister who was passionate, fun-loving and just getting started in what was sure to be an exciting life.
“She was gaining her independence,” said her mother, Ethel MacIntosh. “She was looking forward to everything she was going to experience.”
Machado is one of two first-year University of Victoria (UVic) students killed Friday night in a bus crash near Bamfield. John Geerdes, 18, from Iowa City, also died when the bus crashed, rolling down an embankment off Bamfield Road. The bus was carrying 48 people, mostly UVic students, and was on route to the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.
Machado’s family learned what happened Saturday morning, when members of the RCMP arrived on their doorstep. Not having seen the news or social media, MacIntosh says she was completely blindsided.
Heartbroken, the family is struggling with a new reality that no longer includes their “glass half full” daughter and sister, who MacIntosh described as passionate about the planet and environment – a love that led her to Victoria and UVic’s marine biology program.
“She loved the idea of being on the Island and being away from her parents, she wanted to show that she could do it,” MacIntosh said. “She wanted to be her own person.”
|The family of Emma Machado (Third from left) is mourning after the young student was killed in a bus crash near Port Alberni Friday night. Samantha Machado (left), Ethel Macintosh and father Jose Machado are travelling to Victoria this week to collect some of Machado's personal belongings. A celebration of life will be held in Machado's home town of Winnipeg. (Courtesy of Samantha Machado)|
Machado’s father, Jose, described his daughter as a fun loving young woman who was sociable and made friends easily. She had been so busy with new friends at the university that it had been hard to schedule time for FaceTime calls, although MacIntosh noted that Machado was close with sister Samantha and the two spoke regularly.
Politcally-minded, Machado was excited for fall because it would be her first chance to vote in the federal election, her mother said. She had already decided to vote for the Green party. “She was very passionate about the things she believed in,” MacIntosh said. “[Victoria] and the university would have been a good fit for her.”
One of Machado’s passions was teaching kids about the environment. She used to run children’s day camps at the Manitoba Museum, and volunteered in after-school programs with youth.
“She wanted to make a difference in the world and help people [and] she loved kids and children,” MacIntosh said. “One of her goals was to teach young people about looking after the world and stewardship and humanity.”
The family is travelling to Victoria this week to collect some of Machado’s belongings before holding a celebration of life in Winnipeg.
UVic is hosting a community gathering for reflection and support on Tuesday, Sept. 17 from 4-5 p.m. at BiblioCafé to offer students, faculty and staff “a space to unite and reflect.”
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