The fundraiser in support of lesbian athlete Emily Scheck has stopped accepting donations after topping $100,000 worth of contributions from more than 2,500 people.
Grace Hausladen, Scheck’s teammate in the Canisius College track team, announced the end of the crowdfunding effort in a message on the GoFundMe page on Tuesday (November 20).
“By the amount of shares and attention this story was able to bring, Emily has more than enough to replace the financial support her parents will no longer give,” she wrote. “Even though donations are no longer available at this time, I strongly encourage giving to other LGBT+ organizations to continue on the love to others struggling as Emily did.”
Scheck’s troubles started when her parents discovered she was dating a girl, Justyna. They told their 19-year-old daughter that she would have to undergo conversion therapy to keep receiving financial support from her family.
“A nation came together to help out a person in need and showed that Emily was worth fighting for.”
— Grace Hausladen
She refused, and her family disowned her, kicking her out of their home in August. She had since been juggling two jobs as well as her studies and her daily cross-country practice but was struggling, so Hausladen set up the fundraiser with a goal of $5,000 to help her buy food, cover health insurance, and pay college fees.
Lesbian athlete’s mother told her she “disgusted” her
Speaking to The Buffalo News, Scheck said her parents had sent her a number of insulting text messages after finding out she had a girlfriend.
She said a text from her mum read: “Well, I am done with you. As of right now, declare yourself independent. You are on your own. Please don’t contact us or your siblings.”
When she asked her mum why she was doing this, her mum allegedly responded: “Because you disgust me.”
Her father Timothy Scheck also spoke to The Buffalo News, saying the family apologised for the messages and that they accepted her sexual orientation—claims the lesbian athlete disputed.
Scheck said the experience changed her understanding of what makes a family. “I now know that family is not always something you have, but something you find,” the lesbian athlete said in a statement on Tuesday, quoted in the Associated Press, which also encouraged people to support LGBT+ organisations and concluded with the words “Love is Love.”
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Lesbian athlete and her girlfriend will spend thanksgiving together
As for the Thanksgiving festivities, Scheck said she was feeling “grateful for everyone in my life who have continuously been there for me.”
In her message on the GoFundMe page, her friend Hausladen confirmed Scheck and her girlfriend would celebrate Thanksgiving together.
“Emily, Justyna, and I all have something to be grateful for. A nation came together to help out a person in need and showed that Emily was worth fighting for,” she wrote.
She added: “We all were shocked by the amount of people that helped and my gratitude can’t be expressed in words. Emily and Justyna will be spending Thanksgiving together!”