Memorial Run for Hit and Run Victim

October 13, 2012 Updated Oct 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

October 13, 2012 Updated Oct 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM EDT

LACKAWANNA (WKBW) Hundreds of runners hit the streets of Lackawanna and South Buffalo in honor of a West Seneca teen who was struck and killed by a hit and run driver one year ago.

With a single bang, the first ever Ryan Purcell 4 mile run took off from the Botanical Gardens Saturday morning in memory of the 18 year old college freshman who lost his life to a tragic hit and run.

"It's a beautiful day because everyone is here to remember Ryan. It's a sad day because I wish I didn't have to do this. I wish Ryan was here with us," Ryan's mom Lisa Marie said.

Purcell was walking alongside Seneca Street last fall, just after dropping off his girlfriend, when he was struck and killed by an oncoming car. The driver was sentenced to 2 to 6 years in jail, and while the family still grieves his loss, they say the support of the community has helped ease the pain.

"It's a warm feeling you have inside, to know that all these people care about what you're going through. And to have them out here supporting us, it means the world to us and the family to help us with the healing," Ryan's cousin Brian said.

Purcell was a runner in high school, and continued into his first year at Fredonia. The run helped raise money for a memorial scholarship in Ryan's name that will be given to incoming college freshmen.

"Ryan believed in working really hard and he never gave up on anything or anyone. He was an amazing boy," his mom said.

"Ryan was a very outgoing person that was always there to help. Whether it was with the track team, the soccer team, he always helped people," his cousin added.

And on a sunny day, doing what Ryan loved to do, family members say this is what the teen would've wanted.

"I know he's looking down on us, I know he's looking down with a smile, and he's just so pleased with everyone and he's just saying go out and do your best," Lisa Marie Purcell said.