KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — A local school district is taking the crowd-funding model hyper-local, and searching for some big hearts.
After a fire ripped through Bastrop in 2011, the district started a site called Helping Our Neighbors. It was created to help raise funds for those who are within the school district and had lost property in the fire. But after all the families recovered, the district started seeing more requests for help, this time more personal.
“Eventually it just became this project that it is the place where we will help promote different things so long as it benefits our students or any of our employees, or anyone in the extended Hays CISD family,” said Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy.
Last school year 18-year-old Jeremiah Rangel was diagnosed with a rare and incurable genetic form of cancer. Between studying for school, Rangel has had to receive chemo every two weeks and has been in and out of the hospital for the last year.
“There’s not a cure. At this point, I believe the longest living patient is four years. We’re hoping and praying that Jeremiah goes past that,” said Jeremiah’s mother Sharon Rangel.
“The emotional struggles and exhaustion for this family continue to mount, as Jeremiah will need these treatments for the rest of his life,” reads the GoFundMe page created for Jeremiah.
Jeremiah’s mother also works for Hays CISD, she has four other children and is a single mother.
As medical bills continue to pile up and more appointments are scheduled with a specialist in Houston, the family reached out to Hays CISD to see if they could be included on the Helping Our Neighbors page.
“I’m very grateful. It will bring awareness,” said Sharon. The Rangel’s say they are thankful for the money people are offering to help pay for hospital stays and travel to Houston, but says the awareness it is bringing to her son’s condition is priceless.
“Sometimes things come into your world and it’s not the end of the world even if it seems like it,” said Jeremiah. “I don’t plan on losing to this even if there is no cure, I’ll find one.”
The family says the posting is also providing them with a support group they didn’t know they had.
“Learning is not just about what’s in the classroom, all of the things that affect people in life affect what comes into the classroom in the morning, and so if we can help in the small way of just helping to get the word out about a fundraiser then hopefully that makes a difference,” said Savoy.
The school district does not collect any of the money itself, only points people toward a fundraiser already set up by someone else. The district will only list a fundraiser if the person is directly connected to Hays CISD.
KXAN’s Lauren Lanmon talks with the district and Rangel about the Helping Our Neighbors program tonight on KXAN News at 6.