School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Technology & Society, engagement


SFU students launch initiative to share the stories of those lost to COVID-19

June 04, 2020

By Vivien Lee

Five million confirmed cases. Three hundred thousand deaths. These are the global numbers for COVID-19.

The numbers show how many people have passed away during the pandemic, but they don’t tell the stories of the lives that were lived. Coronavirus-enforced isolating has made it impossible to gather for funerals and to mourn together the passing of loved ones.

SFU undergraduate students Carolyn Yip, David Waizel and Nicole Woo recognized this gap and launched A Proper Farewell, a non-profit initiative to humanize the pandemic by bringing to light the stories of those who have passed.

“We want to bring weight to the numbers and remind people that real lives are lost behind the numbers we see every day,” says Waizel. “The stories shared by A Proper Farewell are not obituaries, but celebrations of life.”

The students are co-founders of Studio Kleio, a company in SFU’s incubator at Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, that uses digital media to tell stories between generations. After an acquaintance posted on Facebook that their grandfather had passed away due to COVID-19, the trio of School of Interactive Arts & Technology students decided to help pay tribute to the individuals who have died and provide a way for families to share their legacies.

Stories are accepted through an online form and the collection will serve as an online memorial.

“We hope this can be a place for people to share how their loved ones lived,” says Yip. “We will run the platform as long as COVID-19 is around.”

Those with a farewell story to share can submit it to A Proper Farewell’s website. Help spread the word to those who have lost loved ones by following A Proper Farewell on Instagram and Facebook.

SFU undergraduate students Carolyn Yip, David Waizel and Nicole Woo launched A Proper Farewell.