Sunny Patel was killed in a robbery.
The family of the 15-year-old Indian American teenager Sunny Patel, who was shot and killed during a robbery at Mr. Hero in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the community in his memory.
Patel was working in his family’s restaurant the night of the incident to help out, even though he had originally planned to watch the Indians game with friends.
Daveion Perry, 20, pleaded guilty to his murder and was sentenced to life in prison just two weeks after Patel died, reported Cleveland 19 News.
Patel’s family was still thinking of others as they dealt with heartbreaking tragedy.
They recently donated thousands of dollars to the community to thank them for their support. A GoFundMe account set up by a stranger raised over $37,000 in just a few days to help pay for Patel’s funeral expenses. His family was able to cover the funeral themselves, so they decided to put that money to good use — and they knew just where to start. They donated $10,000 each to the local police and fire departments.
“A lot of times we don’t take the time to thank police, first responders and everyone in general. They’re always there, always heroes in the background we don’t consider,” said Cullen Patel, Sunny’s cousin, reported Cleveland 19 News.
Sunny’s family also donated $13,500 to Mayfield High School, where Sunny was a sophomore. The money will be used to create a bookstore in his memory. Sunny’s family was shocked by just how much money was raised in his name, the report said.
At just 15 years old, Sunny left a big legacy behind him after his life was cut short that October night.
“We received so many letters, so many stories. We’re not going to be able to make any memories with him going forward, and just the memories they shared meant so much to us,” Cullen Patel said.
Cullen Patel says the holidays have been tough without his cousin.
“He’s just a wonderful little kid. He would always smile, make sure that everyone in the room was having a good time,” he said.
Sunny’s family wants his memory to live on long after he is gone.
“Someone who’s had such an impact in life, you can see that transition into the afterlife too. You know he’s bringing us closer together and reminding us what’s important in life,” said Cullen Patel.
His family says the money left over in the GoFundMe account will be donated to a charity in India that performs eye surgeries for those in need.