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Jayme Closs’s cousin sets up fundraiser to help family heal

SAVAGE, MN (WKOW) — Since Jayme Closs came home, her family has seen an outpouring of support, whether its through welcome signs throughout Barron or efforts to raise money for her family.

Friday night a Facebook campaign raised more than $50,000 for Jayme’s family before the organizers ended it Saturday morning. They said they greatly surpassed their original goal but offered up another option for those looking to help.

Angela De Andriano is Jayme Closs’s cousin, living in Savage, Minnesota. She said she’s been grieving with her family since Jayme went missing so Thursday night’s news meant a sudden celebration.

“It was crazy,” she said. “We were running for the TV and everyone was either crying or jumping or hugging each other.”

It meant nearly three months of searching was over but De Andriano said the family was just beginning its healing process.

“Jayme was home so it was really important for us to help out knowing there was going to be a lot of recovery, a lot of expense,” she said.

To help kickstart that recovery, De Andriano started a GoFundMe campaign.

She said the money would go to Jayme’s aunts who are taking care of her. It will help fund any medical or other needs associated with healing.

“But not just that,” De Andriano said. “The basic stuff. You know the everyday stuff of being there for her.”

In less than a day, De Andriano raised more than $2,000 but she said it’s not just about the money. She said the messages from strangers have left her overwhelmed. She said she was especially touched by one man who simply said he had a 13-year-old daughter and donated $100 in her name.

“It’s amazing how not just the community but the state and the country comes together and finds a way to relate,” she said.

De Andriano said it’s that same unity that helped keep hope alive these past 88 days. Strangers sharing her cousins photo and offering to help, De Andriano believes that’s what ultimately saved Jayme.

“It made people aware and people being aware and Jayme being so courageous and so strong and so resilient brought her back to us,” she said.

Now De Andriano said the public is taking its next steps, finding a way to support Jayme and her family, finally together again.

“For her to be so strong and so courageous and fight for herself like that,” she said. “I feel like people are just fighting for her.”

De Andriano said she hasn’t been able to speak with Jayme yet but she has spoken to her aunt, Jennifer Smith. She said Smith thanked her for her fundraising efforts and for all of the support.

Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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