An avid reader and comic book lover, 15-year-old Nick Prindle would have loved the memorial his friends have planned for Monday, his father said Wednesday.
Nicholas Wade Prindle, a Fort Wayne resident, died Sunday while hanging out on the beach in Florida with a group of his friends from Fort Wayne Area Youth for Christ. The group of teens was on a six-day spring break trip to Florida.
Shortly after 2:45 p.m., officers from the Bay County Sheriff’s Department responded to a beach in front of the Laguna Beach Christian Retreat.
Nick had been playing in the water with students from his youth group when suddenly he ran to shore, coughing.
Seconds later, he collapsed.
As officers and emergency workers arrived, they found him unconscious and began performing CPR. A short time later, Nick was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy was completed Tuesday by the Florida Medical Examiner’s Office. Details about Nick’s death were not available Wednesday, authorities said.
Todd Prindle, a city firefighter, said Wednesday that the loss of his son was overwhelming, but knowing that Nick – a devout Christian – was in heaven was helping the healing process.
Prindle said his son was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia – a cardiac arrhythmia that causes a rapid heart rate.
Nick had been on medication his whole life, and although he didn’t play contact sports, he was able to run around just like everyone else, Prindle said.
At times, Nick’s heart would race and he’d have to take a break, but for the most part, he was just like any other active teen, Prindle added.
Until about 50 years ago, children diagnosed with STV had little chance of survival, he said.
“For 15 years, God blessed us with Nick,” Prindle said. “ … God just called him home.”
Wednesday night, Prindle was still waiting for confirmation about when Nick’s body would be transported to Indiana from Florida. The funeral arrangements would be determined this week, he said.
“There are all of those kids down there on spring break, and I want them to be able to have a time to grieve,” Prindle said.
As news of the teen’s death continued to circulate on Facebook on Wednesday, plans were already in the works for a special memorial to celebrate Nick’s life.
“The day we come back from break, wear green or a superhero shirt in honor of Nick,” said one post on the R.I.P. Nicholas Prindle Facebook page.
By the end of the day Wednesday, 73 people had “liked” the post, and several had commented about plans to purchase shirts or draw the Green Lantern in honor of their friend.
A memorial for Nick Prindle was set up through Fire Police City County Federal Credit Union.
People who wish to donate to the Prindle family can contact any of the credit union’s branches.