Friends raise money for fair collapse victims

Friends of victim Andrea Vellinga wave at Pendleton's homecoming parade.
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PENDLETON - Victims of the Indiana State Fair tragedy could be just a month away from getting money for their injuries.

"Its hard to make ends meet by myself," said Heather Goodrich.

Goodrich has had no choice though, since her husband Glenn died in the State Fair stage collapse last month.

"I've had to take on the responsibility that two incomes met those needs of and I don't have that anymore," she explained.

Families whose loved ones died in the tragedy will get $35,000 from the relief fund which was raised through donations. Goodrich needs it.

"I need it now. Now. Because my children still have needs. I still have needs and the bills have to be paid," she said.

The injured will get between $3,000-$25,000 from the same fund, depending on how long they were in the hospital.

But money from the relief fund can't begin to cover the expenses of the most seriously injured. In Pendleton, where stage collapse survivor Andrea Vellinga lives, her friends walked in the high school's homecoming parade to honor Vellinga and spread the word that she still needs help.

"We want to make sure that there is no financial needs for her family," said Vellinga's friend Jen Hathcoat.

A group called, "For the Love of Andrea" is selling t-shirts, yard signs and car decals to raise money for Vellinga and her family.

At Friday's football game, the group sold those items, while the community released balloons for Vallinga. The injured wife and mother woke up last week from the coma she'd been in since suffering severe head injuries in the August 13 collapse.

"We knew immediately that there would be a financial need," Hathcoat added.

Grassroots fundraising efforts like the ones Vellinga's friends have undertaken aren't the only ones out there. Parents from Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School are holding a fundraiser for senior student Brad Humphrey.

"When the accident happened, I figured the State Fair wouldn't come through with money for awhile so I just thought they need something now," said Crispus Attacks parent Debbie Williams, whose daughter is a classmate of Humphrey.

Humphrey, a star tennis player at the school, became paralyzed after being injured in the stage collapse.

"I can't imagine how much it's going to cost, 'cause they're having to have their house, you know, changed around to accommodate Brad," Williams added.

The fundraiser and dinner for Brad Humphrey starts Saturday (Sept. 24) at 2 p.m. at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School. A fundraiser for Andrea Vellinga will be held Saturday (Sept. 24) from 3-7 p.m.