Strangers have raised over $150,000 for the funeral of Toronto 3-year-old Elijah Marsh, who froze to death after wandering out of his grandmother’s apartment building wearing only a T-shirt and diaper.
Marsh was found on Thursday morning in a backyard near the apartment, and was pronounced dead several hours later, after being rushed to a hospital. Elijah had left the building six hours earlier, wearing just a T-shirt and diaper, exiting into temperatures of -4 F (-20 C).
Toronto reporter Justin Kozuch, 36, was stunned by the news of Marsh’s death, as he himself has two children. He decided to launch a fundraising campaign on Tilt.com for the 3-year-old’s family, and the immediate response was nothing short of overwhelming. As of Saturday morning, the campaign had raised $153,620, and Tilt.com had agreed to waive all credit card fees for anyone who wished to donate.
“Way to go, Internet!” he tweeted. “I’m so honored.”
— CP24 (@CP24) February 20, 2015
Money collected in the campaign will be used to cover Elijah Marsh’s funeral expenses, according to the description on the fundraising page. The campaign was also featured on the front page of the Toronto Sun, furthering its exposure as donations continued to pour in.
“The death of this child must be truly devastating to the family and friends of Elijah, the many members of the law enforcement and medical community in Toronto, as well as the countless Torontonians who helped search for him, spread the message of his disappearance and prayed for his safe return. Help us raise some much-needed funds to help cover the cost of Elijah’s funeral. Every dollar matters and any donation you make is greatly appreciated.”
— Red C. Pedestrian (@RedcPedestrian) February 21, 2015
Security camera footage captured Elijah as he pushed his way through the building’s front door at 4:05 a.m. After being filmed on the apartment’s driveway at 4:20 a.m., Marsh wandered off. His family noticed that Elijah was missing around 7:30 a.m. when they awoke, and he was discovered huddled in a nearby backyard around 10:20 a.m., after a search that involved more than a hundred officers and volunteers from the local community.
— Doyle Industries (@DoyleGlobal) February 21, 2015
While a memorial vigil was recently held, funeral arrangements for 3-year-old Elijah Marsh have yet to be confirmed.
[Image: Toronto Police via the Daily Mail]