Kelowna entrepreneur dies river rafting 3 weeks before wedding

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A tragic accident has claimed the life of a Kelowna entrepreneur who was just weeks away from marrying the love of his life.

Rene Bourgault and three friends were whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse River near Golden, B.C. on Sunday when the group was tossed into the water. All but Bourgault managed to make it to shore and further rescue efforts uncovered Bourgault’s body down the river.

He was set to marry his long time girlfriend, Chelsea, on September 12 of this year.

A graduate of University of British Columbia Okanagan, Bourgault had a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and was a successful business man creating and operating a synthetic lawn company in Kelowna named SYNLawn.

Bourgault’s family and friends have now set up a GoFundMe page hoping to raise money to support Chelsea and his family with the numerous expenses they will have to spend in the next several weeks.

“Rene was a charismatic, successfull entrepreneur and a vibrant member of Kelowna’s business community.  He was looking foward to marrying the love of his life, Chelsea, in just a few short weeks. Nothing could have prepared any of us for this.

“As his family and friends, we are profoundly grateful and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support we have received from the community. Many of you have asked how you can help.  Sadly, Rene did not have life insurance.  We are raising money to help Chelsea and the family with their expenses over the coming weeks and months. We want to relieve some financial pressure and give this grieving family the only thing they really need right now – time to grieve and heal,” the family wrote on the fundraising page.

They have since raised over $23,000.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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