WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – A large group of kayakers gathered in Great Falls, Va. Saturday for the memorial service of one of their own, 23-year-old Shannon Christy, who died in preparation for the 2013 Great Falls Race on Thursday.

Christy, a resident of Greenville, S.C., had been kayaking in the Potomac River with a male cohort, when her kayak capsized, turning her into the treacherous waters.

Photos: Memorial Service in Great Falls

Both kayakers were reported missing around 4 p.m., but an extensive rescue mission yielded only one survivor.

Firefighters were able to rescue the male kayaker, but Christy was pronounced dead at the scene when her body was found hours later. She wasn’t wearing her life vest, which rescuers suggest was likely ripped off by the strength of the rapids.

Organizers of the race, originally scheduled for Saturday, canceled the event so participants could attend a memorial service for Christy, being held in the same place she met her unfortunate end – in Great Falls, overlooking the Potomac.

“Every time she met people, and in every circumstance where I interacted with Shannon, she was positive, happy and literally like a ray of light,” one attendee told WNEW on Saturday.

“She was a beautiful spirit; always happy, energetic, embracing life and having fun with life,” another said.

There were plenty of flowers, hugs and tears to go around as they celebrated the life of their friend Shannon Christy, who died doing what she loved.


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