Serena Deng was a ray of sunshine.
Tears were shed by hundreds who filled Emmanuel Alliance Church in Bells Corners Saturday afternoon.
“The pain will stay forever in our hearts,” said Serena’s father, Ming Deng, holding onto his wife, Sarah Hui Liu.
The bubbly 17-year-old University of Ottawa student was killed Sept. 12 after she was struck by a pickup truck while crossing Eagleson Rd. near Hwy. 417 in Kanata.
An off-duty nurse apparently helped Deng after she was hit.
A man was also struck by the same truck, licensed to Thomas Cavanagh Construction.
He wasn’t seriously injured.
Deng was born in Shenzhen, China, and the family settled in Ottawa when Serena was seven years old.
She has two younger sisters, Olivia and Grace.
Three friends gave the eulogy, each describing Deng as an eternal optimist with boundless energy.
They painted her as a fun-loving straight-shooter who always spoke her mind.
“I like to remember her as how she was –always smiling and always being positive and making everyone happy, and having that infectious laugh,” said friend Duc Huynh, 18, who knew Deng for about 10 years.
His favourite memory of Deng goes back to grade eight.
“We all went to plan a picnic together, and no one brought food except for me, and I felt like a fool,” he said.
Deng was a few weeks into her first semester studying human resources and worked at Starbucks for almost one year as a barista.
“She was a really friendly person and she was easy to talk to, and she was hilarious and amazing,” said colleague Dugan, 19.
Gerry DeFrancesco, 20, recalls her ability to handle stress on the job.
“She always smiled and always made you feel like nothing was going to happen, nothing was going wrong, and everything was fine,” he said.
Co-workers said they loved listening to her interact with customers.
Deng’s first job was at a Yogen Fruz when she was 15, and she planned to finance her education.
After graduation, she wanted to travel and help people.
Next summer, she was supposed to volunteer in Peru.
Deng recently bought a book called “Better Each Day” and was going to pursue a happy, healthy life, she told her parents.
Donations in Deng’s memory can be made to Emmanuel Alliance Church in Ottawa or International China Concern, an organization caring for China’s abandoned and disabled.