Aaron Von Riper, a volunteer firefighter in the town of Hunstville Texas, was called in to a car crash on June 6, not knowing that the victims were his own wife and son.
Amber Von Riper’s car collided head on with an oncoming pick-up truck. Amber was ejected from the car while her 7 year old son Jonathan was trapped inside.
“It’s my family. My wife was laying there on the ground,” Van Riper said. “I don’t know how either one of them lived. There was nothing left of that car.” Rescue workers were able to free Jonathan from the vehicle and both him and his mother were airlifted to the hospital.
Amber went through nine hours of surgery to repair a broken pelvis, while Jonathan suffered a broken arm and leg. The family’s medical bills were expected to total around $125,000
A GoFundMe page was quickly set up for the family, with friends and family members donating cash and posting hopeful messages.
Pop singer Taylor Swift donated $15,000 to the campaign, the highest donation the fund has seen so far. In addition, according the the GoFundMe page, the singer’s donation attracted others to the site, bringing in more money to help the family.
“Not a lot of people are just gonna drop that,” VanRiper said. “If it is her, I thank her from the bottom of my heart. She’s an amazing person.”
Billboard.com confirmed that the donation did indeed come from Swift.
As of June 18th, the GoFundMe page had raised over $120,000 in 11 days.