On Saturday, a Texas firefighter, Aaron VanRiper, responded to the scene of a horrific car crash only to realize that he knew the victims very well. They were his wife, Amber, and his 7-year-old son, Jonathan.
Amber had been thrown from the car during the collision. Their son, Jonathan, was still pinned inside. Each had multiple cuts and broken bones.
“It’s my family. My wife was laying there on the ground,” VanRiper told ABC affiliate KTRK. “[By] the look of the car, I don’t know how either one of them lived. There was nothing left of that car.”
He tried to keep calm, but nothing in his training had prepared him for seeing Jonathan — who the family calls “Bear” — pinned inside a mangled car.
“Once I saw my son, that kind of went out the window and I started going into a bit of a panic mode,” VanRiper said.
The firefighter successfully rescued his wife and son, but the family has no health insurance and has been left with a hefty medical bill.
Amber and Jonathan were airlifted to a local hospital. Amber underwent nine hours of surgery on Sunday to repair her shattered pelvis, VanRiper said. Jonathan, 7, suffered a broken leg and elbow.
Amber is still in the hospital but their son has been released and is back home with his father.
After seemingly reading BuzzFeed’s article on the incident Wednesday night, the pop star “favorited” it on Twitter.
While Swift’s publicist would not confirm whether the pop star had in fact donated the money herself, a person with knowledge of the situation told BuzzFeed that she had indeed personally given the money to the family. Billboard has confirmed that the donation was made by the singer.
Swift has previously garnered attention for similar kind actions. Previously she has called children with cancer, surprised fans with gifts and performed for individuals in the hospital.
As of Thursday morning, the GoFundMe page is seeking $125,000. There have been more than 2,000 separate donations so far as donors are following Swift’s lead. The campaign has received over $100,000 so far.