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US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden place flowers for the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub Sunday at a memorial at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida, June 16, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. June 17, 2016: A crowd funding platform that dubs itself “the #1 do-it-yourself fundraising website to raise money online” has become a critical lifeline for some of the family and friends of the Caribbean and Latin American-born victims of the June 12, 2016 Orlando terrorist attack.

Go Fund Me has become the go to place for those seeking financial help to cover the funeral costs of the victims or to help with the medical costs and care of those injured survivors.

Pedro Feliciano, a friend of Ponce, Puerto-Rico-born victim, Leroy Valentin Fernandez, has started an account hoping to raise some USD40 K for funeral expenses. Fernandez, 25, was a leasing agent for Auvers Village in Orlando, Fl. and was known to be a singer who did covers of Beyonce and Adele. According to the page, Fernandez “was the sole provider for his mother financially and emotionally and now she is left with us to help her have an easy transition with this tragedy.” As of Thursday night, the account had raised over USD3,600.

Wanda Ferrer has also started a drive hoping to raise some USD5,000 for her slain friend Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon. “Danny,” 37, grew up in Puerto Rico, then moved to Vero Beach, Florida where he managed a shoe store. His friend said the money will be used for his  funeral, and to transport his body back to Puerto Rico. As of Thursday she had raised over $7,300.

The sister-in-law of another victim, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, was also raising money for his funeral. “He always said that the he wanted to be cremated and be in his country which is Puerto Rico. We want to bring him back to his country and release his rest at the island as he always wanted,” Aileen posted on Go Fund Me as she aimed to raise USD4,000. As of Thursday night, she had raised USD3,230. Ortiz-Rivera, 36, was born in Puerto Rico. He reportedly decided to attend a friend’s housewarming celebration at the nightclub early Sunday when he was killed.

Friends of Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, who was born in Manati, Puerto Rico, and worked at a Speedway convenience store was also trying to raise some USD5,000 for his funeral expenses. Last check ,they had gotten up to $2,400.

Also using the tool was the partner of Xavier E. Serrano Rosado, 35, who was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Florida ten years ago. He was a dancer who had performed in the past at the Atlanta Bachata Fest as well as at local theme parks, including Walt Disney World, and on the Norwegian Cruise Line. Wilma Lozano started the Go-Fund Me page to help pay for funeral costs and for his Serrano’s son Kelvyn’s collage fund.  As of last night he raised USS10, 209 of $40 K.

Dagmaris Maldonado, a friend of Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40, who was shot and killed in the attack on June 12th, was also on Go Fund Me raising money for his funeral.

“These funds will go straight to Liz “Millie” Jorge, Javier’s sister, for them to be able to deal with funeral expenses, flower arrangements,  travel, car rental, hotel, pay bills, among others,” she wrote as she past her target of USD15,382 of $15 K.

The sister of Yilmary Rodriguez was also asking for help for her sister’s funeral and to help her surviving two sons – Jariel and Sergio – and husband, Pito.  She raised USD 5,829 out of the 5 K she had asked at press time.

Also turning to Go Fund Me is the family of Dominica-Republic born Oscar Aracena.  His aunt was trying to raise USD10 K to help his father Ambiorix Aracena and family ease the unexpected upcoming expenses from New York, New Jersey, and the Dominican Republicdue and to assist with his funeral in Orlando.  She has so far raised almost USD 4,000.

As was the nephew of Juan Chavez Martinez, 25, from Huichapan, Mexico, who as also killed at the Pulse Night Club. His family were looking to raise USD8,000 to help his parents who live in Mexico with funeral expenses but so far have only raised USD1,326.

Other groups like ‘Support Victims of Pulse Shooting’ by Equality Florida, the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, have already raised over USD4 million.

If you would like to help log on here.

Go Fund Me is based in San Diego and Menlo Park and was launched on May 10, 2010. Millions of people have raised over $2 Billion in the past 365 days.

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