UPDATE - April 11, 2018: Humboldt Broncos athletic therapist Dayna Brons died of her injuries in hospital, 5 days after the bus crash. She is the 16th fatality in the accident.
Just last week, Canada learned that one of its toughest and youngest fighters had lost his battle with a debilitating rare disease.
Jonathan Pitre, the "fearless warrior" who captivated the country and the world with his positive energy as he fought epidermolysis bullosa, died at 17 on April 4 at a hospital in Minnesota.
Just a day after those devastating headlines, Canadians would be sent grieving over another tragedy: a horrific bus crash in Saskatchewan had taken the lives of 15 people involved with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team and injured 14 others.
There is nothing more tragic than young lives being taken too early.— Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) April 7, 2018
Friday was one of the most devastating days in hockey with the Humboldt Broncos bus crash & the passing of Jonathan Pitre. Teenagers who all deserved to live full lives, but will never get the chance.
Emotions were already running high, so when this drawing of the Broncos inviting Pitre to play hockey with them started making the rounds on social media, the reaction online was profound.
TSN's James Duthie shared the drawing on Instagram Monday evening. But though he mentions he was told the work was created by Kingston, Ont.-based artist Silvia Pecota, she pointed out on Facebook that was not the case.
"Just a heads up, that this isn't my artwork," she commented on a TSN story about the drawing. "Not sure [why] I got credit. Very moving."
@MadeinCanada, a Twitter account with 342,000 followers, also shared the tribute and credited Pecota.
Pecota did create a piece to pay tribute to the team, however, which she shared on Facebook a day after the tragic crash.
In Memory of the Humboldt Broncos. Fatal crash that killed 15 on 6th April 2018 - Saskatchewan.Posted by Silvia Pecota Studio on Sunday, April 8, 2018
Users on social media have pointed out that the drawing is signed with a "K" in the bottom left corner, though that didn't bring the internet anywhere closer to identifying the original artist.
It wasn't until Tuesday, after the drawing had gone viral, that the Ottawa Citizen managed to speak to the person behind the drawing.
Kerry MacGregor, a children's author from Kanata, Ont. who now lives in France, told the paper that she didn't share the image from her usual Twitter account so that she could remain anonymous.
"I didn't want to identify myself because I just wanted to offer something," MacGregor, 42, told HuffPost in an email. "I didn't want to take anything."
MacGregor said she decided to identify herself after her cousin sent her the drawing with a comment and she "realized I'd put myself in a strange situation." She didn't want to create a mystery and worried that the search for the piece's creator would become the story.
I wanted to offer something good, maybe even a little helpful.
The former journalist, who is writing about hockey for an upcoming project, said she couldn't stop thinking about Pitre's death and the Humboldt tragedy. Given her current job, she said the two stories affected her deeply.
MacGregor said she is not an artist, and was worried that would show in her drawing and make it seem disrespectful.
"I was really worried about the families involved in these two stories. I wanted to offer something good, maybe even a little helpful," she said, adding that she was a little afraid of the potential reactions to the drawing.
"Grief is a really complicated thing and so are people's memories. I was hoping that the image could create a bit of a safe space for people for a few seconds — a space where life wasn't horribly unfair and sad."
Those worries weren't warranted, evidently, as the response online has been glowing. The drawing has been liked and shared thousands of times on multiple platforms.
"The reaction is amazing, but the reaction to both of these stories has been amazing. Canadians are wonderful that way," she said.
"I'm glad everyone is coming together to look after each other. I didn't have much to contribute, but hoped someone felt something good from the idea in the illustration.
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