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Crash survivor, family: Keep focus on victims

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— The family of a survivor from Saturday night's fatal accident is asking that the focus remain on the two dead Shenendehowa High School students.

A statement was released this afternoon from Matthew Hardy and his mother, Patricia Hardy, asking for space and time as he continues to heal from the accident.

"We appreciate and are overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support and concern from the entire Shenendehowa community and beyond," read the statement. "While the call from Tim Tebow provided a smile in an otherwise devastating situation, we would like to keep the attention focused on supporting the families of the students who passed.

"Tonight is a time to come together as a community and celebrate the lives of Chris and Deanna," the statement concluded.

A candlelight vigil will be held at 7:15 p.m. today at the Shenendehowa High School athletic stadium to honor the lives of Chris Stewart and Deanna Rivers, who died in the accident. Bailey Wind, a fourth passenger in the vehicle and a Shaker High School student, remains hospitalized at Albany Medical Center, as does Hardy.

In anticipation of a large crowd for tonight's vigil, all activities on campus after 5:30 p.m. have been cancelled.

A funeral Mass will be held on Thursday morning for Rivers at St. Edward the Confessor Church, with calling hours at the church on Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m. A memorial Mass for Stewart will be held on Saturday at Corpus Christi Church at 11 a.m., with calling hours at the church on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m.

The Rivers family is asking that memorial donations be made to the Deanna Marie Rivers Memorial Scholarship. Contributions can be sent to the Shenendehowa Central School District at 5 Chelsea Place, Clifton Park, NY 12065.

Stewart's family is asking that people make donations to the St. Colman's Autistic Program in Watervliet in honor of his cousin, Andy.



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