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Riverhead skate park to be renamed after skateboarder who died of cancer

As a teenager, Wesley Dean Ackley had advocated for other skateboarders in 2010 to keep the town from raising fees for non-residents to use the park.

News 12 Staff

Mar 19, 2023, 4:17 PM

Updated 456 days ago

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A skateboard park in Riverhead will be renamed in honor of a young man who recently died of cancer.
As a teenager, Wesley Dean Ackley had advocated for other skateboarders in 2010 to keep the town from raising fees for non-residents to use the park.
His parents say Ackley had a passion for skateboarding since he was 9-years-old.
“When he wasn't in school, this is where he was with his friends,” said his mother Christine Ackley.
Ackley was diagnosed with a rare cancer that affected his spine at age 22. Although surgery left him paralyzed from the waist down, physical therapy helped him walk and return to skateboarding.
“That was always his goal through cancer treatment, to continue to remain active at the skateboard park and live as much as he could,” said his mother.
On Jan. 24, Ackley died due to the illness at age 27.
Last month, his friends asked the Riverhead Town Board to consider renaming Stotzky Memorial Skate Park in Wesley's memory.
The Town Board and supervisor agreed to have the park renamed, but a date has yet to be set.
“We were very surprised and touched. We felt honored and know that Wes is looking down and feeling very proud,” said his mother.


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