Merrittonian Lawrence Bose wanted to return to his hometown.

Sadly, the 30-year-old who grew up in Merritt was never able to do so.

Bose had been fighting cancer for almost two years before passing away in November.

He spent his last eight years in Manitoba and had been diagnosed with stage four rectal cancer in February of 2013 after having an emergency colonoscopy in Carman, Man.

That summer, when he last spoke with the Herald, Bose was living at the Lennox Bell Lodge next to Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre and commuting to the St. Boniface Hospital three times a week for chemotherapy.

The cancer spread to his liver, his lungs and brain, and chemotherapy treatments became ineffective.

Bose passed away on Nov. 16, and his funeral was held in Manitoba.

Some of his friends from the Lower Nicola area weren’t able to make the trip to attend the funeral, so they gathered at the Shulus Arena on Dec. 20 for an informal skate to remember their loved one.

Ryan Mann, who grew up with Bose, organized the memorial. The two both lived on the Rocky Pines Reserve and played hockey together.

Another one of Bose’s friends, Ivan Swakum, said he and Bose would always hang out in the same group of friends.

Swakum said Bose was an easygoing guy who always had a smile on his face.

Mann said Bose loved making people laugh.

“Even with his illness in the end, he was always laughing and always stayed very positive,” Mann said.

“It definitely didn’t slow down his sense of humour,” Swakum said.

It had been a little more than a decade since Mann last saw Bose, but the two had managed to communicate via Facebook while Bose was sick.

When Swakum first heard that Bose had fallen ill, he travelled to Manitoba to see his friend.

Swakum said he kept in touch with Bose on Facebook, and was also able to attend his friend’s funeral.

Swakum said when he reconnected with Bose, it was via Facebook and the two picked up right where they left off after years without any contact.

“Best buddies, talking every day,” Swakum said.

Raylene Humphrey remembers catching garter snakes with Bose when the two were in elementary school.

Another of Bose’s friends, Allison Cisco, sent him pictures of familiar sites from his hometown, such as the school they went to and the house he grew up in.

“It wasn’t long after I started sending those pictures that he passed away,” Cisco said.

In honour of their friend, Mann and Swakum had some tuques made up with Bose’s name and dates of birth and death on them, which were given to the people who were at the memorial. Two versions of the tuque were made — a black one and a grey version. The black one also has a hockey player on it.

Swakum said they chose the tuque because Bose, a hockey fan, was known for wearing one.

Humphrey said she made Bose two bead medallions when he was alive. One was a Vancouver Canucks symbol, and the other was a cancer ribbon. She said she asked that the cancer ribbon be buried with him.

“I miss him,” Humphrey said, “but he’s watching over us, I know that for sure.”