Donation News

Ralph Yarl Fundraiser Raises $3.2M

Ralph Yarl, shot for no reason, is the focus of a $3.2 million GoFundMe campaign for his medical costs and recovery.

Ralph Yarl, 16, knocked on the door of Andrew Lester on Thursday night, after mis-reading the address at which he was to pick up his young brothers. Lester brought a gun to the door, saw the child through his window, and shot him in the head through the door. As Yarl lay on the ground, Lester shot him a second time. According to Lester, he saw Yarl attempting to break into his house by pulling on the door handle. He was, in his own words, “scared to death,”of the slight black boy.

Despite a bullet that entered above his eye and into his left frontal lobe, Yarl was able to go for help, but had to knock at “multiple” doors before a neighbor answered to help him. That neighbor required him to lie on the ground with his hands up before helping to stop his bleeding. He was extraordinarily lucky. The fragmented bullet was in his brain for about 12 hours before being surgically removed, and he only spent three days in hospital.

A GoFundMe was set up on Yarl’s behalf by his aunt, Faith Spoonmore. She wrote about how strong her nephew is, and his plans for the future. The money is intended to pay for his medical bills, the inevitable therapy he deserves, and whatever’s left to help him attend his dream college, Texas A&M.

Driven by the national attention attracted to Yarl’s story, the fundraiser has raised over $3.2 million, blowing its original goal out of the water. Nearly 50,000 people have donated, from $5 donations from school children to five-figure donations from celebrities.

Comedian Ellyn Daniels, for instance, is the current top donor at $15,000. Artist Rashid Johnson donated $1000, and Guy Oseary donated $5000.

Brain surgery and its follow-up medical needs can cost in excess of $2 million in the U.S., more if complications occur. If Lester is convicted of assault or attempted murder against Ralph Yarl, he may be on the hook for the costs, but forcing him to pay may take many years.

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