GoFundMe page raises money for O’Neal memorial

The+current+makeshift+memorial+for+O%27Neal+near+the+pond.

Emma Schad

The current makeshift memorial for O’Neal near the pond.

Adrian Hackl, Staff Reporter

While many Lakeland students are anticipating summer vacation, there are others who will be carrying heavy hearts and memories into summer break.

On Monday, April 24, a GoFundMe page was launched with the hopes of creating a memorial for Lakeland freshman Kaelin O’Neal, who passed away earlier this year.

“Dr. Stroot came up with the idea for a proper memorial after seeing a student kneeling down in the mud and praying by the pond,” said Megan Hellmer, who created the fundraiser along with Elizabeth Stroot, professor of psychology, and fellow-student Jack Merrill, O’Neal’s football captain.

One of the main goals of the fundraiser is to build a teak kneeler for friends and family who would wish to offer their prayers at the site of the incident.

“If we can raise enough funds, we’d also like to add in a bench or maybe a stone memorial with a plaque for him,” Hellmer added.

The memorial would also welcome tokens and mementos placed at the site from friends and family.

Any additional funds raised will be used to plant a shade tree near the memorial area, as well as distributed toward textbooks or scholarships for student-athletes in financial need.

As of Monday, May 1, the GoFundMe page raised $965 of their $2,000 goal.

If you would like to donate toward the fundraiser, click here.