When an unexpected tragic event struck a Palatine High School senior's family, several students and Palatine community members showed their support through fundraising efforts for the family.
After Palatine High School senior Brad Walls' father, Barry Walls, 49, died unexpectedly Dec. 8 from injuries from falling down a flight of stairs while helping a sick friend, the school and the community rallied to raise more than $10,000 in four days to help the family pay for medical bills and funeral services.
"After Brad's dad passed away, we were in kind of shock. He's such a good friend of ours" said Palatine High School senior Brian Keough, who said that fellow senior Ryan Gronwick first came up with the idea that students should raise funds for the family, which has suffered a series of hardships.
Keough and Gronwick, along with fellow Palatine students Alex Nawrot, Anthony Depersia, Cody Oversen, Ben Nzerem, Ian Holst and Andrew Neilsen, got the efforts started.
"Once we got the ball rolling, next thing we knew we had blue donation buckets going around in school and the outpouring of donations was incredible," Keough said. "People were giving without hesitation, and we didn't know who many of the donations came from. People were handing over $20 without thinking twice about it."
The community also became involved. Photo's Hotdogs, 301 N. Northwest Hwy., donated $1,100, which represented the money from orders Dec. 12-14. Hot Dog Richies, 220 N. Northwest Hwy., donated a portion of sales from Dec. 15-16. Pizza Bella, 100 W. Northwest Hwy., donated a percentage of their sales each night for a week.
"A lot of Palatine High School kids come here for lunch, and Brad is one that comes pretty regularly," said Tony DeFilippis, owner of Pizza Bella. "I truly thought what the students did was amazing. These kids are well on their way to learning that giving is more important that receiving."