DENVER (CBS4)– Help is being organized for a paralyzed survivor of the 1999 Columbine shooting. Last month, CBS4 reported that Richard Castaldo is without a proper place to live and in need of assistance. Now, a site has been set up to give to this person in need.
The picture of Rich Castaldo with his head in his arms has touched many. It was taken at a Los Angeles event for gun violence victims when Hollye Dexter discovered he was ill.
“We called 911, took him to the hospital where he was very sick with MERSA infection,” she told CBS4 in February.
CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, who covered the Columbine shootings, reached Castaldo by phone. He had been living for months in a Los Angeles convalescent home. He said he needed a new wheel chair.
“Yeah I’m trying to get a new one a stand up one trying to get that going,” he said.
Since CBS4 shared his story in February, there has been an outpouring of support.
A GoFundMe page has been created. It has raised nearly $20,000. Castaldo’s attorney, Stuart Zimring, who is donating his services, is among the organizers planning to get Castaldo the wheel chair and more.
“We are working on getting him housing Richard wants to be independent and lead his own life,” he said.
Castaldo has already received a new computer from donors.
He was among the first shot at Columbine more than 20 years ago. He was struck eight times and paralyzed. Though he likes to distance himself from that event, he has not been forgotten.
Zimring added, “It speaks to what our society can do at its best of just reaching out and helping each other in a time of need… and Richard’s’ story is compelling.”