Heartbreak as 'courageous' Coast teen killed in tragedy
THE Coast community is in mourning following the sudden, tragic death of 17-year-old Serena Stanley.
The much-loved Maleny teen and passionate equestrian was killed in a horse riding accident on Sunday afternoon.
Her family have since travelled to Melbourne where she was living at the time, about to start her new job at a horse stud.
Her passing has devastated family and friends.
Serena was young and ready to take on the world after graduating last year.
She was the happy, vibrant daughter of River and Sandy and loving sister to brothers Bradley and Jesse.
Close family friend of the Stanleys and mother of Serena's best friend Ayla, 18, Laina McCoy said the family now had to organise how they would bring her home for the funeral.
"The Stanleys are very unique," she said.
"They are the most selfless, kind and incredible people you would have ever met and Serena was the same.
"I grew up with River and our kids grew up together; Serena and Ayla were like sisters.
"Just the other day they were talking about how when they had children they would raise them together too.
Laina is the godmother of River's children, as he is to hers.
Upon hearing the news Laina's heart broke.
"Everyone who knew Serena loved her. Everyone who met her, loved her," she said.
"She did things teens her age wouldn't do, she was so courageous and ambitious - there was so much she wanted to experience."
Laina said the Maleny community had banded together to try and ease the family's pain.
"The Stanleys are away so hundreds of people have been coming by my house and leaving messages, food, or coming just to have a hug," Laina said.
"I'm in awe at all the people who have come to help, showing their support by doing whatever they can."
To help the Stanleys, a GoFundMe page was created and has since raised more than $16,000.
The Nambour Pony Club will also be hosting a fundraiser at the weekend at the Nambour Showgrounds.
It is open to the public and people are encouraged to wear blue, Serena's favourite colour.
The event is free however there will be a raffle drawn and donations able to be made.