One year ago, 15-year-old Christopher Hanson died in a train jumping accident. On Saturday, his family and friends gathered at the site to remember his life and spirit and urge others to avoid taking dangerous risks.
For those who gathered at the vigil, the event was much more than a memorial -- it was also about a message.
Hanson's mother told FOX 9 News she warned her son against train jumping, but he did not heed that advice and it cost him his life. As loved ones came together to honor his memory, they say they also hope to put an end to potentially deadly thrill-seeking.
"To me, he was just one of my good friends and I could tell him anything," remembered Kaiyanna Borich. "He didn't judge me or anything."
The group met at 14th Avenue northeast and Fillmore Street, which is where Hanson and a friend tried to jump off a moving train that was speeding up.
"Him and a friend jumped on and stayed on while it was moving," Mariah Hanson said.
Hanson's friend was able to jump off before it was too late, but Hanson's mother said her son's appetite for risk resulted in what she calls a "tragic accident."
"You can't be with your kids every second. Do I wish that it would've ended differently? Yes, but there are dangers lurking all around us every day," said Melissa Standall.
Family members who did not know about Hanson's train-hopping say they wish they would have known sooner, because they would have spoken to him too.
"If I knew, I would've definitely said something," said Hanson's aunt, Katie Thomas.
Now, Hanson's loved ones say they hope others will speak out to stop another family from enduring the same loss they still struggle with.
"Life will not be the same without Christopher," said Sherry Hanson. "He was so full of life, so loving -- unconditional."
Hanson's family and friends say they hope the light Christopher left in their lives will help illuminate a strong message about the dangers of train-jumping that will put a stop to it, especially since they know the pain of losing a life to a preventable accident will carry on for years to come.
Family members say they have seen many negative remarks on social media about not being more active in preventing Hanson's death, but they ask that people remember that it was a traumatic accident. They also urge those who don't have something nice to say to keep it to themselves.