Friends and family of the late Michelle Curtis came together on Saturday to participate in a game she loved, while raising money for her two biggest passions: education and health care.

Curtis drowned while rescuing her son and other kids from trapped in a riptide while on vacation at Macleod’s Beach in Inverness County a year ago.

“I know that she knew that the kids were ok, and I know how much that would have been important to her. That's what she went in there to do was to save them and she did,” said Curtis’ sister, Kendra Baldwin.

The anniversary was marked with a washer toss tournament in Curtis’ memory.

“All her friends and family have taken part in building the boxes, getting everything ready, getting donations,” said her mother, Diane White. “It's to be a fun event, for everyone to have fun. That’s what Michelle loved to do.”

Curtis worked as a nurse on the palliative care unit at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, where a portion of the money raised will go. The other half will go to the Breton Education Centre Scholastic Fund in Curtis name to help a student heading into nursing.

“She was a diploma RN,” said Baldwin. “She just went back to St. FX. She was doing her degree distance. She was just awarded her degree. Her husband accepted her degree on her behalf just this past April.”

The anniversary is especially hard for Curtis’ father, whose birthday falls a day after the accident. It was the last words her parents heard from their daughter.

“As we were leaving she said have a good birthday dad, see you at your place for cake and supper,” said White. “She left smiling going to the beach. We left to go home and that's when our daughter Kendra told us to get back.”

The family says the memory will forever be etched in their minds, but with the help from family and friends, their daughter's larger than life personality will live on.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.