Community comes together for 12-year-old Waukesha stabbing victim
Family starts fundraising website to raise money for daughter
The tragic story of a 12-year-old Waukesha girl, allegedly stabbed by two of her friends May 31, has received national and international coverage.
Correspondingly, she is now receiving national, international support, in addition to plenty of local aid.
The cities and countries that have reached out are listed on the family's official Facebook page, "Hearts for Healing: 12 Year Old WI Girl; Official Fundraiser."
Many people from within the state have reached out through social media, as have Americans from as far west as San Diego and Sacramento, California, as far east as Brooklyn, New York, and as far south as Cocoa Beach, Florida, and Houston.
The family has also heard from people in Canada, England, Nigeria, Spain and Ireland.
"We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from the surrounding community, across the country and even overseas," the parents said in a letter posted at the site of where their daughter was found by a bicyclist following the attack.
Funding for expenses
As their daughter, a sixth-grader at Horning Middle School, was recovering in the hospital last week, the family launched an online fundraising campaign to help cover ongoing medical and legal expenses.
"We appreciate your patience, love and support, as we too are stunned and saddened by this tragedy," the family said in another statement.
Donors can use the website, gofundme.com/Heartsforhealingwi, or donate to the Hearts for Healing Fund at branches of BMO Harris Bank.
From the time the website opened last week, donations have poured in and messages of support have followed.
The family has a fundraising goal of $250,000 and through five days, close to 1,000 people have made some kind of donation for a total of about $41,000.
Filled with love
The victim's family is also asking for homemade hearts of purple paper, fabric, or felt "infused with prayers, love and light."
"The hearts will blanket the walls of the girl's room to remind her that the power of love is greater than all else," said Dana Hoffmann, spokeswoman for the family.
By the looks of it, the girl should soon have a full wall of purple hearts.
Horning Middle School students created the hearts during classes last week. The Waukesha Community Art Project also hosted a fundraiser last week at its downtown Waukesha facility during Friday Night Live. Many people of all ages came out to give donations and make purple hearts for the victim.
Downtown bar's help
While that was going on, Boscos Social Club in downtown Waukesha raised $1,700 for the victim at a pig roast. There was a $2 minimum donation for the pig roast, but Boscos owner Jimmy Dakolias said everyone gave more than that.
"Most people gave at least $5, $10 or even $20," he said. "It was great to see that."
The owner said the victim's father plays in a Bean Bag Toss league at the bar, and his partner in the league was helping with the fundraiser.
Dakolias said the bar typically holds some type of event on the first Friday of the month, but there were many new faces last weekend.
"It definitely exceeded our expectations," Dakolias said.
Five Diamonds Inc. and the Waukesha Blazers organization also held a fundraiser over the weekend at Infinity Fields during a three-day tournament.
Tom Kelenic, a co-owner of the baseball and softball complex located on Les Paul Parkway in the town of Waukesha, said about $3,330 was raised at the Ken Gardner Tournament. Volunteers collected cash donations and sold raffle tickets and the field's sponsors donated items to the raffle.
Lisa Kelenic, Tom's wife, said the donations exceeded their expectations of $2,500.
"A number of people from the community were coming just for the fundraiser," Lisa Kelenic said. "They just wanted to help."
She said Five Diamonds will continue to have a donation jar on hand throughout the summer.
A banner was also on display at the complex for the teams to sign and offer their well wishes to the victim. It will be delivered to the girl this week.
Close to home
The Kelenics don't know the victim or her family, but they said the incident really hit home to everyone at the facility, especially since the complex on Les Paul Parkway on Highway 59 is so close to where the stabbing occurred outside of David's Park.
"The incident was real close to the park," Tom said. "So we thought (a fundraiser) was a good idea to do, since so many people were coming into the community for the tournament."
Games at Infinity Fields were also being played the previous weekend when police departments from the area fled to the crime scene.
"That day, games were going on and a helicopter was over the whole park," Lisa recalled.
The scene was different this past weekend when players, coaches and parents who might never meet the girl came together to show her their support.
"The victim is around the same age as a lot of our players, so when it's that young it pulls at your heart," said Lisa, who has three children, ages 10, 14 and 16. "So we wanted to do something for her in her recovery."
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