Community rallies behind family after teens drown

NOW: Community rallies behind family after teens drown

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Michiana community is mourning the two South Bend area teenagers who died over the weekend.

Now, people from near and far are raising money to support their family during this difficult time.

“This is something where our community can come together and help raise some money," said Razia Malik, who created a GoFundMe to raise money for their family. 

Malik's son was friends with Ahmed and Saleem Qasem-- the two brothers who drowned at Warren Dunes State Park on Sunday.

He even played basketball with them the night before. 

Seeing her son's grief-- and the grief of others in the community-- Malik believed there was an opportunity to raise money for the family, to pay for funeral expenses and more. 

This tragedy comes just two years after the sudden death of Ahmed and Saleem's father in 2020. 

“This family was part of Michiana, and I knew that every single mother, grandparent, sibling, father would feel that pain of losing two unbelievable children—and many other people felt the same way," said Malik. 

The GoFundMe was created with a goal of raising $100,000; a goal surpassed just one day after its creation-- and the number continues to rise. 

Malik knows that no amount of money could ease the family's pain-- but every cent adds up, providing some comfort-- while bringing a community together in the South Bend St. Joseph High School students' memory. 

“This whole fundraising is much more than just about the money. I think a lot of it has to do with humanity and that people saw that there was such a tragedy and such a need, that everyone came together. Everyone felt each other in our community. We’re all neighbors, we’re all a community and what can we do to help.”

Malik also hopes this unfortunate incident will also encourage more individuals to be more educated when it comes to being safe in Lake Michigan. 

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