TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Standing strong in the rain Wednesday night, a large group gathered to remember 11-year-old Taquairius McDonald. Friends say Taquairius took his own life after being bullied.
Balloons, 17 for Taquairius' football number, were released into the sky. On the ground, candles, hugs and tears were all part of a vigil at Willys Park.
"It's like this is a nightmare," cried Allyson Kynerd, a friend of Taquairius.
Allyson is a member of the Start High School cheerleading team and says Taquairius was like her little brother.
"Out of anyone, I would never think Taquairius would do this," said Allyson. "But I can't be mad at him for it."
Taquairius was a football player, quite a good one, and now the cheerleaders are rallying behind his family, donating $500.
"Look behind me, it could be either one of them," said cheer coach Dawn Price, referencing the group of cheerleaders attending the vigil. "Bullying is real and I wouldn't know what to do if it was one of them."
"One of the best kids I've ever coached," said Tony Pollauf, Taquairius' longtime football coach. "No attitudes, no problems, did whatever we wanted."
Pollauf says Taquairius' death is unbelievable and he helped organize the vigil for people to share the hurt and say no to bullying.
"We are family and this is our family, this is our area, this is our - we are family and we all stick together, and we all are feeling the pain deep down, and we're going to be here for each other, as a team and as a community and we're going to stop all this bullying," said Pollauf.