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A will and a way

by KEITH KINNAIRD
Hagadone News Network | April 16, 2010 9:00 PM

SANDPOINT - Friends and relatives of a Sandpoint High School student who died of an undetected heart condition while skiing are circulating a petition to have a trail named after him at Schweitzer Mountain Resort.

"It would be a great tribute to a wonderful kid," said Rebecca Johnson, sister of Will Johnson.

Will Johnson, 15, died of a probable fatal cardiac arrhythmia while skiing in Schweitzer's Outback Bowl on Dec. 22, 2009. He was found unresponsive in a tree well, which led to suspicion that he suffocated.

An autopsy, however, determined he had an anomaly in his left descending coronary artery.

Rebecca Johnson said Will had been skiing at the resort since he was old enough to walk and knew the mountain to be a special place for her brother.

Will Johnson's friends, Jonny Prandato and Riley Hadeen, began circulating the petition among SHS students and staff. They have gathered 429 signatures so far and the petitions are still making the rounds.

They plan to pitch their request to resort officials, who are already aware of the effort, and demonstrate there is support for the request.

"They know the idea is out there," Prandato said.

Will's friends remain open when it comes to naming the run, although Will's Cross Country Run or Will's Playlist are couple of monikers they are considering. The latter name refers to Will's varied taste in music, while the former recognizes his love of distance running.

They are also open to where the run would be located. Prandato said Will was partial to some of the areas adjacent to Pucci's Chute.

Hadeen and Prandato remember Will as an outdoorsy cutup who touched a lot of people with his kind-hearted antics and genuinely friendly demeanor.

"He brought out the best in everyone," Hadeen said.

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