$50,000 memorial fund made in Batalia’s honour

By Sahira Memon

The fund, in memory of Maple Batalia, an SFU student who was murdered last year, will go towards health science students

The Maple Batalia memorial fund, created by the family of the slain SFU health sciences student, has reached its fund raising goal of $50,000 in time for what would have been her 20th birthday.

“It’s been really nice to see people come together for our cause,” said Batalia’s older sister Roseleen Batalia to The Province.

The fund was originally created in mid-December of last year with an initial contribution of $10,000 made by Batalia’s family. Over the past few months, through a tribute from Central City Model Search, support from the Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode, a $13,000 gift from Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Limited, and the ongoing effort from her family, their goal of $50,000 has become a reality.

“It has been amazing to watch the community work together to create this memorial in Maple’s honour,” said Joanne Curry, executive director of SFU’s Surrey campus.

The memorial fund will be used to support women in the Faculty of Health Sciences, and is one of the first bursaries aimed specifically at that faculty.

Batalia was shot and killed in the parkade of the Surrey campus on September 28, 2011. Her unfortunate death has become a spark, setting off a wave of support for the family from the communities surrounding the news. Of the extensive community response, some examples are multiple candlelight vigils, countless Facebook groups, and a tribute to Batalia at the Central City Model Search, in which Maple had been a contestant.

As of yet, there have been no arrests made in the case. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) is still attempting to find the person responsible for killing the aspiring model. So far, investigators have been successful in seizing a white Dodge Charger believed to have been belonged to the suspect, and have made appeals to possible witnesses seen on security footage around the time of the accident to step forward. The family and all those surrounding them, including the SFU community, are eager for justice to be served in this tragic incident.