FOLSOM (CBS13) – It’s been a month, and the tears still flow.
But at a celebration of his life, we get to know 12-year-old Ronin Shimizu through the eyes of those he bonded with, like Raj Ajudia, who was in Boy Scouts with him.
“He was really a natural leader,” Raj said.
Saturday, Raj joined hundreds of Ronin’s former classmates release balloons into the sky – a powerful sea of green, Ronin’s favorite color.
But for Raj, it came with a brighter message – one he wanted Ronin to know about.
“Hey Ronin … Don’t look now, but the impact, the waves of your impact across our city’s youth, the waves are just rippling across our schools,” Raj said.
One month ago on Saturday, the community learned Ronin Shimizu took his own life.
His family believes he did it because he was bullied – taunted for years for being different.
“In general, we’d go hiking up a hill, we’d find things or we’d go in a tree house that he made,” said friend of Ronin Javier Damian.
“He was a kid that loved to have fun, liked to row. He loved fashion, bright colors, hiking. He was a kid,” said family friend Tori Hobert.
Ronin was homeschooled before committing suicide. Before that, he attended several schools. He was a cheerleader at Folsom Middle School, the only boy on the Vista Jr. Eagles team.
Girls on his team say he was picked on for being in cheer. They wrote notes on balloons to express the pain of losing a friend.
“I said, ‘Shine bright like a diamond,’” Taylor Ureta said.
Parents say Ronin’s story is being talked about in classrooms across the country and on social media, like blogs on Tumblr and pictures on Instagram. Ronin’s own Instagram page is already at more than a hundred thousand followers.
And friends like Raj keep Ronin’s memory alive simply by remembering how pure he was.
“In every incident at school that happens from now on – whether it be bullying, or where another kid gets sad – you will always be an example, and you will stay in our hearts and in our minds every single day,” Raj said.
If you’re interested in donating to Ronin Shimizu memorial fund, a GoFundMe page has been set up.
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