Isabella Erickson GoFundMe Organizer Amazed by Overwhelming Community Support
Jul 09, 2015 10:37AM
● By Steven Jack
Screenshot of GoFundMe page for the family of Isabella Erickson.
The family of young Isabella Erickson has quite a friend in Jenn Anderson and the community.
Anderson is the person behind the GoFundMe page set up in the wake of Isabella’s passing over the July 4 weekend. The online fundraiser started with a modest goal of $5,000 to help the family cover medical expenses for dad, John, and funeral arrangements for 12-year-old Isabella. To date, the fund has more than $15,000 with donations from more nearly 300 people — many of whom are total strangers, Anderson said.
"I didn't expect to get halfway (to the goal), much less all the way there, and now we've tripled it," Anderson said. "People have been very supportive. I was surprised by the number of people who donated who didn't know Isabella or her family."
Anderson, who lives in Yorkville and works in Plano, said she and her parents have known Isabella’s mom, Anya, and her family for as long as she can remember.
“Isabella would come spend a week or so with my parents here and there, so she was more like family than just a friend's daughter. I'd come home after work while I was still living with (my parents) and Isabella would be there.”
Isabella's maternal grandfather Ben Limbaugh took some time Wednesday to thank all the fund's donors, as well as Anderson for her work.
"I would like to thank, firstly, all of the donors to this fundraising effort," he wrote on the GoFundMe message board. "It was propelled into action by the daughter of a dear friend of both my daughter, Anya, and my wife, Carla, and her name is Jennifer. There can be no doubt that financial help at this time is of inestimable value to Isabella's family, and for that, Jennifer, we are eternally grateful."
As for the success of the fundraiser, Anderson said she has some experience in social media from her job, and she has been working hard to spread the word.
“The hardest part has been getting the word out there,” she said. “I joined a bunch of local Facebook groups and posted in those and just kept hounding everyone to share, which most were willing to do.”
Anderson also encouraged people to keep donating as John is likely to be off work for some time.
“The one thing I want people to know is that even though we've exceeded the goal, the Ericksons can use every additional dollar that's donated,” she said. “We covered the funeral but there are going to be all kinds of medical bills and John will probably be out of work for a little while.”
Isabella, a student at Plank Junior High in Oswego, died July 4 after the ATV she was driving with her dad as a passenger left the roadway in rural Nokomis went into the ditch and hit a tree. John was hospitalized with broken ribs, a concussion and a bruised lung among other injuries.
Isabella’s visitation is scheduled for 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 12, at Dieterle Funeral Home, 1120 S. Broadway, in Montgomery. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Monday — also at Dieterle.
The family has invited all students who wish to attend the visitation to wear tie-dye shirts in honor of Isabella. The family also will be handing out loom-band bracelets made by Isabella.