One New York police officer is giving back to other first responders in need with a program called “Fund the First”.
New York police Detective Robert Garland started the organization “Fund the First” in response to his supervisor’s daughter, who was born with a rare neurological condition. Three years ago, the baby got the diagnosis of Alexander’s disease.
Alexander’s disease affects the nervous system and the brain. There is no cure for the condition, and it is often fatal.
Garland knew he had to help the family.
He created the organization “Fund the First” to help families of first responders and military personnel with financial and emotional support.
“With the crowdfunding space, everyone knows about GoFundMe, Kickstarter,” said Garland. “There are almost 200 platforms out there that do donation-based contributions. So we recognized this and wanted to develop something that’s more of a trusted and secure platform for first responders and our military.”
Garland goes on to add, “My daughter had been born two days apart from my supervisor’s daughter. Unfortunately, his daughter was born with a rare illness called Alexander’s disease.”
The family of the sick girl was taking a toll both emotionally and financially.
“I told my supervisor, I’m going to create something just for you. I’m going to put a team together so you and your family can get the help you guys deserve.”
The program officially started this past summer. To donate to the campaign, you can visit their website at fundthefirst.com.
Outside Factors and ‘Fund the First’
Garland says that despite the recent riots and protests that the launching of the group was purely coincidental. He adds that the group is politically independent to cater to first responders of all backgrounds and beliefs.
“We’ve been asked that before, but no, we didn’t do it as a response to the defund the police movement,” Garland explained. “We try, with Fund the First, to stay apolitical because people who are going to donate are from all spectrums, and we don’t want to give that up.” He adds, “We wanted to make sure trust, verification, and security are paramount. We hired developers, raised capital, and it got moving the way we wanted it to.”
So far, the GoFundMe has raised just under $200,000 with 43 campaigns.
“For it to take off like that, that fast is incredible. But the space as a whole, we could be doing $200,000 in a day. If we can spread the word and help people understand who we are and why we are here, people don’t care as much about the money. It’s about a support system.”
Garland says it feels good to give back when he can to the families of first responders.
“I delivered a check today to Damaris Yu. The wife of David Yu, NYPD sergeant who passed away from 9/11 complications,” he continued. “They did a campaign with us when David passed away, and we ended up raising $9,500 for them. Incredible. But when I met with her, she broke down in tears. It wasn’t tears for the check, or me showing up.” Garland clarifies, “It was tears of joy because she was overwhelmed with that support system. It hit home to her whole family to see the hundreds of people who donated to her campaign.”
[H/T Fox News]