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Highland Student Raises Money for a Friend

Apr 08, 2016 10:04AM ● Published by Natalie Mollinet

By Natalie Mollinet | natalie@mycityjournals.com

Sugar House - One Highland High student, Michael Jaramillo, is busy making necklaces not for himself, but for a much bigger cause in trying to help a friend and his mother with medical expenses. 

Michael’s friend Ian was involved in a car accident, leaving him in the hospital. Ian’s mother has been trying her best to help her son get the medical care he needs, but is still struggling with the finances for it. That’s when Michael found a way to make his necklaces into a fundraiser to help. 

“He was my best friend,” Michael said. “After he got into the car crash, I went to the crash to see what happened and what all the damage looked like. While I was there I saw a piece of glass from his windshield, so I came up with the idea to put it in a necklace.” 

Michael wore the necklace to school the next day and students wanted to know where they could get one. Michael said that it started off with just a couple of close friends asking him for one too, but then more students wanted one.

 “So then I was thinking about how much the medical bill would be,” Michael said. “Then the idea of starting a fundraiser for Ian.” 

Michael got the necklace idea from one of Ian’s necklaces, but instead of glass in the necklace he used rocks. 

Anyone who donated $3 or more to the fundraiser got a necklace, and the selling of the necklaces spread like wildfire. Michael started recruiting friends to help; his friends were all behind him in helping him get the word out and raising money for Ian. 

Michael met Ian the end of his sophomore year, and since then people hardly ever saw them apart. While Ian was in his coma, Michael would send him messages on Facebook every night telling him what happened that day and how his day was so Ian wouldn’t feel like he missed out on anything while he was in his coma. 

Ian was in a medically induced coma and according to Michael would sometimes open his eyes for just seconds and yawn. 

Ian’s mother was unaware of the fundraiser that Michael had started to help her son. In early March, Michael had already raised $200. 

“I thought it was such a powerful and useful way to deal with his grief — and his anger as well,” Elaine Toronto, one of Michael’s teachers, said.

Teachers ask Michael how Ian is doing and like to keep up with his condition. Other students who knew Ian are buying the necklaces and trying to help with his medical bills, and according to Michael a lot of his family has helped raise the money too. 

“It’s an amazing feeling knowing all these people care as much as I do,” Michael said. 

Michael said the necklaces not only help raise the money for Ian, but they also help him feel like he is doing something for Ian. 

“It makes me feel like I’m there for him even though I can’t physically help him. I would consider him my brother,” Michael said.

“Michael is a great example to other kids,” Toronto said. “Hopefully others will pick up on it.” 

Michael never thought this would take off the way it did, but he is grateful for the support he’s gotten from not only friends, but from fellow students and his family, as well. 

“I just really want my friend to get better and to be able to see him every day,” Michael said. “Just like old times.”  

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