Yellowknife 18-year-old Milo Martin is remembered for his ability to make connections with people and his impact on others’ lives after passing away suddenly on Saturday.
Milo, who was born and raised in Yellowknife, moved to Victoria, British Columbia in October to live with his girlfriend, Katie Sharp. His mother, Shawn McCann, said he had suffered sudden cardiac arrest.
“His heart just stopped … his heart broke,” said McCann, adding Milo had a form of heart murmur but nothing beyond that to suggest something so unusual, for someone so young, was a prospect.
Tributes were paid to Milo across Yellowknife.
Ptarmicon, the NWT’s gaming and cosplay convention, called Milo – a former youth board member – “an incredible guy who helped Ptarmicon in many ways.”
On a Facebook page for radio control enthusiasts, he was remembered as “an incredibly talented young man who had his hands in everything.”
“He was the best at connecting with people,” said McCann. “Different ages, different backgrounds. He knew people from all walks of life. He loved them, and they loved him back.”
Milo finished second in snowboard cross at the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in Fort Smith. He kept in touch with Russian athletes he had met at the event, his mother said, and spent time helping Syrian refugees newly arrived in Yellowknife.
“He really believed that he needed to share his love and his opportunities,” she said.
Milo’s father, Jordan Martin, described the decision Milo made to leave Yellowknife for a life with his girlfriend in Victoria.
“He was the kind of person that just went all-in with everything, even in his relationship,” Martin said.
“He was kind-of a wreck before he left, but he just knew that he had to leave home to go be with the person that he loved.
“As parents, we were skeptical of that, but when we saw him at Christmas-time – it was the first time we had seen him since he left – he looked so happy. You could see it in his body language and the smile on his face.
“It was so good to see him happy and in love.”
‘Always there for his friends’
Milo attended Yellowknife’s JH Sissons, William McDonald, and Sir John Franklin schools. In Victoria, he had taken a job at a Home Hardware store connected to his girlfriend’s family. The store held a memorial ceremony for him on Sunday.
“I’m floored by the response,” said Martin.
“As a parent, you worry about your children and how the world accepts them, and how their experience in the world is – whether they get along with their peers or have groups of friends.
“Milo really cast a broad net. He touched so many people. He always made space for everybody.
“I want to thank everybody that has reached out and shared memories, shared photos, and I’m glad that Milo made such a big impact in other people’s lives and in our small part of the world. I hope he’ll be remembered as a person that was always there for his friends and always willing to give his time for a cause that he believed in.”
McCann said: “We lost him very young, but he obviously did a lot in his life.
“He was the ultimate extrovert. He loved to meet new people of all different shapes, and sizes, and backgrounds, and he gained from that.”
Milo’s family plans to hold an event in his honour later in the spring.
“There are a lot of people that want to celebrate him,” said McCann. “I think it might be non-traditional. Milo loved punk music. He got that from his parents, that’s where his name came from. We want to do something outdoors, where lots of people can attend, and that may not be until May or June.
“Both Jordan and I lost close friends as young people. We know how hard this is for someone who’s 18 or younger, dealing with this, especially in the midst of Covid. Please keep sharing. Parents, I know it’s hard right now but if your kids are grieving this, get them help. Milo would want them to be helped.
“He would want people to reach out, help each other, and talk.”