California Town Raises Thousands For Newborn After Mom’s Death

Vivienne Scott

A town in California went to bat for one of its smallest residents last week, when they started to work on a fund to raise money for a newborn baby who just lost her mother. The baby, Chelsea Marie, was born to 45-year-old Melinda Rodriguez on February 8. But Rodriguez tragically died just a few days later from a uterine infection. She contracted sepsis from the infection, and double kidney failure ultimately led to her death.

Dozens of residents in her hometown of Coronado, California, got together to show support with a fundraiser for the newborn baby.

While the ultimate goal hasn’t been reached yet, last week’s fundraiser got a good start with $14,107 that has been put into an account in an online fundraiser site, GoFundMe. The $14,107 that has been raised for Rodriguez and baby Chelsea online so far will go toward funeral arrangements and to help care for the baby.

Hosting fundraisers for babies who need help of various kinds isn’t unheard of. A fundraiser in Provo, Utah, used chocolate to raise money for premature babies in the hospital’s intensive care unit, according to the Herald.

The hope for Friday’s fundraiser alone was to raise as much as $60,000, but the new goal was $10,000.

The fundraiser was led by a good friend of Rodriguez, Kris Perez, who said that Rodriguez had wanted to be a mother more than anything in the world.

“She wanted to be a mom her whole life,” said Perez in an interview with local the local ABC News affiliate, Channel 10, who added that she has taken one month off from work to help take care of the newborn baby.

Rodriguez was a beloved member of the community who worked as a waitress at the Coronado Bayside Grill, the restaurant of the local golf course. It was the location where her friends and family decided to hold a remembrance ceremony for her and a fundraiser for her newborn baby.

The money for the newborn baby, who will be raised by her father, Stanley Jones, was brought in through raffles and donations at the golf course event. Jones said that they had basically given up hope that Rodriguez would be able to conceive and were joyfully shocked when they found out she was pregnant.

It was the best shock of their lives, especially because it becomes exponentially more difficult for women to conceive after they pass age 35, and Rodriguez was already 45 when her newborn baby finally arrived.

“We got to the point where we thought this was never going to happen, so when we found out back in October that by that time she was five months pregnant, we were just totally happy,” Jones told Channel 10.

One supporter for the newborn baby fund online and a friend of Rodriguez’s, Beth Thurman, described her dear friend as a wonderful person.

“Simply the best smile in the world is how I would describe Melinda,” Thurman wrote about the mother of the newborn baby.

[Image via GoFundMe website]