BY REBECCA BENNETT — The Washington Post shared the heart-breaking story about Hyattsville’s Melvin Maldonado and his fight with cancer. The 11-year-old passed away on June 8. His mother recently miscarried after six months, his brother has autism, and his parents told visiting teachers they thought they were in danger of loosing their home. Neighbors from University Park and Hyattsville offered a hand:
The school leapt into action. PTA President Becky Widman sent a letter to the school’s message group, as well as to the message group of the University Park neighborhood. Another parent, Rene Beesley O’Dell, set up a Web site for donations: www.gofundme.com/melvinssmile. So far, $33,500 has been raised toward a goal of $40,000. Eric Olson, the council member, looked into what support services the county could offer, including mortgage assistance. Tim Hunt, a Hyattsville City Council member, reached out to his community networks. Maritza Gonzalez, the Prince George’s public school system’s Latino affairs officer, visited the family.
The Gazette.net captured Melvin’s claseemates as they sold popsicles to help the family. ABC7 spoke with Melvin’s family and the University Park Elementary School parent who set up the crowdfunding campaign: