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California student runs to aid Columbine shooting victim


Williams and Kirklin
Williams presented Kirklin with a check for $18,000, which will go to help pay for Lance's medical bills

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CNN's Greg Lefevre talks with Rashad Williams and his parents
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School shootings
 

He raises $18,000 to help pay uninsured teen's medical bills

June 22, 1999
Web posted at: 8:33 p.m. EDT (0033 GMT)


In this story:

Moved by media reports about teen's wounds

At least 4 more surgeries necessary

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DENVER (CNN) -- A kind heart, strong legs and two months of fund raising enabled a San Francisco teenager to hand over an $18,000 check Tuesday to Columbine High School shooting victim Lance Kirklin.

"I'm just overwhelmed," said Kirklin, 16, after he was presented the check at the Denver Health Medical Center. "It's really cool, just breathtaking, that someone would do this to help me."

Kirklin was wounded, shot five times when Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine, killing a dozen classmates and a teacher. Kirklin was among the almost two dozen wounded.

After the Columbine massacre dropped from the front pages of newspapers across the country, Kirklin's plight was still very much on the mind of Bay Area track star Rashad Williams.

Moved by media reports about teen's wounds

"When I first saw what happened on the news I was devastated and decided to do something," Williams said.

 Williams
Williams "kept thinking of Lance" to get through a 7 1/2 mile race  

In order to help pay Kirklin's huge medical bills, Williams lined up sponsors and entered the annual Bay For Breakers race, a 7 1/2 mile race held every May.

"I was tired," Williams said, "But I kept thinking of Lance."

"I really felt for him because of his injury," Williams said of Kirklin, who also is an athlete. "All of them were really bad, but I could say his really jumped out at me."

"He used to play sports, now he can't play sports anymore," Williams said. "At that time it was track season for me, so I related his situation to mine: What if that would have been me? I would have missed out on the whole track season and everything, so his (situation) really caught my attention."

Williams thought he was doing well when he collected $300 in pledges. Then the mayor found out, and the media got interested and thousands of dollars began pouring in -- money much needed by the Kirklin family.

At least 4 more surgeries necessary

Kirklin was shot in the leg, chest and face during the Columbine attack. After several operations and rehabilitation, he faces at least four more reconstructive surgeries. The care already has led to bills of more than $1 million for a teenager with no medical insurance.

Some people have asked why a black kid would help a white kid. Williams said he just saw a person who could use some help.

"When I'm doing things, I don't look at the color of somebody's skin," Williams said. " I help people because of the situation they're in, or because they're in a time of need."

Williams' mother, Sheila Burton-Harrison, agreed with her son's motivation, saying, "We do it out of love, out of compassion."

"I always knew he had a big heart," said Anthony Harrison, father of Rashad Williams.

So far, about $100,000 in donations have been received by the Kirklin family, including the $18,000 from Williams.

Correspondent Greg Lefevre contributed to this report.



SPECIAL SECTION:
Are schools safe?


RELATED STORIES:
Colleague of Columbine shooters arrested
June 17, 1999
Crews work to erase signs of massacre at Columbine
June 16, 1999
Bullet-scarred Columbine High School opens doors to media
June 15, 1999
Columbine families wrangle over $2.3 million in donations
May 28, 1999
Teen suspect in Georgia school shooting may face adult charge
May 20, 1999
Bodies remain inside school as police check for bombs
April 21, 1999


RELATED SITES:
The Denver Post Online - News
Columbine High School Information Center
Fact Sheet on Littleton, Colorado School Shooting
Columbine High School
School violence
Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994
Facts About Violence Among Youth
Violence and Discipline Problems in School
Jefferson County Public Schools
Chatfield High School
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