A fundraiser for a 2-year-old orphan whose parents were killed during the Highland Park, Ill., mass shooting topped $2 million Wednesday, less than 24 hours after a concerned citizen set up the charity.
The GoFundMe fundraiser for 2-year-old Aiden McCarthy was launched Tuesday by a Northbrook, Ill., resident after Aiden’s two parents – Kevin, 37, and Irina, 35 – were killed while attending the Fourth of July parade.
The death toll reached seven Tuesday. More than two dozen were injured.
The fundraiser for Aiden topped $2 million Tuesday morning.
The father shielded Aiden with his body, according to local media reports. The McCarthys are immigrants from Russia, and the mother was Jewish, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Aiden’s grandparents are taking care of him. His grandfather, Misha Levberg, picked Aiden up from the police station.
“When I picked him up, he said, ‘Are Mommy and Daddy coming soon?’” Levberg told the Chicago Tribune. “He doesn’t understand.”
Northbrook’s Irina Colon, who organized the GoFundMe fundraiser, said Aiden is “left in the unthinkable position” to “grow up without his parents.”
“Aiden will be cared for by his loving family, and he will have a long road ahead to heal, find stability, and ultimately navigate life as an orphan,” Colon wrote. “He is surrounded by a community of friends and extended family that will embrace him with love and any means available to ensure he has everything he needs as he grows.”
Colon was among the heroes who cared for Aiden during the tragedy.
“The North Shore community rallied to help a boy who we knew nothing about,” Colon wrote. “We took him to safety under tragic circumstances, came together to locate his grandparents, and prayed for the safety of his family.”
The fundraiser will support Aiden and the caregivers “who will be tasked with raising, caring for, and supporting” him “as he and his support system embark on this unexpected journey,” Colon wrote.
One person wrote on the GoFundMe page, “My heart is broken for Aiden, as well as his parents. I cannot imagine. May God provide comfort to the family members!”
Another person wrote, “Dear little one, though these donations will never make up for your loss, may they allow your journey ahead be peaceful and without worry.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jim Vondruska/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.