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Video: Tears, smiles, and butterflies before 8th annual memorial ride for Richmond woman

Friends and family gathered at Russ Baker Way to remember Christy Mahy, who was killed by a dangerous driver eight years ago.

The sun shone brightly as friends and family gathered at the Larry Berg Flight Path Park to remember Christy Mahy, who was killed by a dangerous driver exactly eight years ago.

Christy tragically lost her life at the age of 36 at the intersection of Russ Baker Way and Dinsmore Bridge back in 2014. The dangerous driver, Erjon Kashari, had a lengthy criminal record prior to the fatal accident.

For the past eight years, her friends and family have gathered annually at the Flying Beaver pub near YVR's south terminal to ride in her memory.

"The reason this all started was [because] my daughter loved motorcycles," said Christy's father, Ron Mahy, adding that she was the first to ride at the back of the Harley-Davidson bike he rebuilt.

Ron was emotional as he reminisced about Christy. "As a father... It's hard to let it go," he said, but he is able to keep going because of the support from his loved ones.

"I'll probably keep doing this until I can't ride," he added.

Brandie Mol, one of Christy's closest friends, said that "words can't express" the gratitude she had for the bikers who participate in the annual ride and for The Richmond News' Alan Campbell.

"If [the riders] didn't come out to give something to write about every year... I don't think they would have extradited [Kashari] back," she said.

Kashari, an Albanian refugee claimant, was allowed to leave Canada just four months after causing Christy's death when he triggered automatic deportation by revoking his refugee claim.

"I think because every year we had a reason to ask the questions, and [the authorities] had a reason to answer because it was on the front page... So just gratitude forever that we got some sort of justice for [Christy]," Mol explained.

Since this year's ride falls exactly on the anniversary of Christy's death, and Kashari was finally brought to justice last year, friends and family wanted to do something special.

"It's done. He's gone, court's done. We can just start fresh and just remember her for her. And we always will," said Mol.

Just before meeting up at the Flying Beaver pub for the eighth annual ride, Christy's loved ones gathered to release butterflies and lay flowers and gifts in her memory near the intersection where her life was tragically cut short.

"Christy and I always believed in guardian angels. So dragonflies, butterflies - that sort of thing. Whenever we saw them we went, 'My mom!' And it was just kind of our thing," explained Mol.

Over the past eight years, some new faces have also joined in on the annual tradition.
"I can't think of anyone else really on the planet that gets this many people to come out year after year just to remember them. Not even celebrities. That says [who] Christy is. The kids come now that she doesn't know, but they would have loved her," said Mol.
"She was a special girl, and for as long as people come out, we'll be out here supporting her."
With files from Alan Campbell.