An online fundraiser has been established to help the family of the 9-year-old boy who was struck and killed while riding his bicycle Tuesday evening.
Cary resident Moss Withers set up the campaign after consulting with the school. His wife, Kendall Withers, taught Paul in kindergarten and first grade. Moss Withers also is chairman of the board of the Kraft Family YMCA, where Paul took part in the after-school program.
“I thought I could help,” said Moss Withers, a Realtor who is involved in several community organizations and First United Methodist Church in Cary. “I thought I could get the word out pretty quickly.”
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Paul was biking with his 12-year-old brother, John, his father, Loc, and two classmates Tuesday about 7:15 p.m. near Southeast Maynard Road when he was struck by an SUV driven by Deborah Brown, 49, of Cary, police said.
Cary police said Thursday that Brown would not be charged.
Brown had the right of way and was driving 12 mph on Maple Avenue, the main road of the mobile home park where Paul lived, according to a police report. The report says Paul failed to yield and rode his bike in front of Brown’s car, giving her no time to react.
Paul, who was wearing a helmet, was transported to WakeMed in Raleigh, where he later died, police said.
Following Paul’s death, Kendall Withers, now a part-time teacher at Mills Park, went to check on the Pham family in the Chatham Estates mobile home park with the school’s principal and the English-as-a-second-language teacher. There, she said she saw the family is in need of financial assistance, not just for medical bills and funeral expenses, but for everyday living needs and bills. She also saw how proud Loc Pham is of his son as he showed off his artwork on the walls and pictures.
She said she has been moved by the community’s response to the fundraising request and how much people want to help. She said strangers have “taken this family in their arms.”
“I never thought that so quickly we’d be able to raise so much money for this family,” she said. “Hopefully this brings them a little comfort in such a difficult time. They won’t have to worry how they’ll pay for funeral costs or medical bills.”
Moss Withers said Dorcas Ministries in Cary has offered to help Loc, a single father who moved here from Vietnam, with new furniture, and other local businesses are donating services as well.
She said the school atmosphere was somber Wednesday when classmates learned of Paul’s death. Paul was a quiet, smart boy who was sweet and had a lot of friends, she said. He enjoyed coming to school and worked hard and also loved riding his bike, soccer, martial arts and video games.
It was tough for teachers who knew Paul and his older brother John, she said. The children shared stories about their friend and made cards for his family.
“It’s a very hard thing for children to understand, to figure out what they can do to help,” she said. “He made some best little buddies there.”
Funeral services are scheduled for Sunday at 4:30 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 2817 Poole Road in Raleigh. Visitation is Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cremation Society of the Carolinas, 2205 E. Millbrook Road in Raleigh.