Unimaginable Tragedy Strikes Scholars’ Graduate

 Unimaginable Tragedy Strikes Scholars’ Graduate

By Katie McFadden

A graduate of Scholars’ Academy is in need of support after a life-changing car accident left him as an orphan, and the new caretaker of his 10-year-old special needs sister, at just 18 years old.

“On February 10th, my mom called to ask if I was coming home to go with them to our new house and, if not, to eat the kebabs she made for me in the fridge. On that day, my dad called me telling me our cat misses me, making meowing noises, putting the cat on the phone, and asking me to come with them. I told them I’d make the next trip with them. That night, they lost their lives in a tragic car accident, and my sister received multiple injuries, leaving her in the ICU. And on that morning, I became an adult, the bearer of their dreams, and the protector of my sister,” Esam Ahmed wrote on his GoFundMe page that he launched just a few days later.

On Friday, February 10, Hafiz Ahmed and his wife Shathe Ahmed were on their way to Binghamton with his little sister, Raida, to see a home they had recently purchased. They were on Route 6 in Woodbury, NY, when a 2019 Infiniti that was being pursued by police, rear ended their Toyota Sienna, sending them into another lane, where another car crashed into them head on. Hafiz and Shathe died at the scene, and Raida was transported to Westchester Medical Center. Raida, who lives with autism and cerebral palsy, is recovering. Hafiz and Shathe were laid to rest on February 16. Both Raida and Esam are now left without parents, making Esam, just 18, her legal guardian.

The Class of ’23 Scholars Academy graduate, a U.S. Army ROTC cadet and Fordham University freshman launched a GoFundMe to try to support himself and his sister as they move forward. Through his message, Esam, of Far Rockaway, explains that he hopes to “honor the dreams [his] parents harbored for [them],” explaining how his parents emigrated to America to pursue the American dream and give them a better life. Hafiz Ahmed started as a taxi driver and worked his way up to working for the U.S. Army Corps Engineering Corps. He says both of his parents would go out of their way to help anyone in need. He would like to follow their example. As Esam explains, “This fund will support Raida’s recovery and future education, cover our living expenses, and help manage the legal and administrative aspects of our parents’ estate.” As we go to press, Esam’s GoFundMe has raised nearly $60,000.

Another GoFundMe started by the Bengali American Boldest Association to help pay the mortgage for the new home the Ahmeds purchased, has raised nearly $55,000.

Following the flood of donations, Esam provided an update, thanking everyone for their support. “As my parents live through me, it is my responsibility to take care of my sister, with the help of my family, my friends, my parents’ friends, neighbors, anyone who cares, as it takes a village to raise a child. This tragic story is a part of a bigger, happier picture for Raida and I, her life, and each one of you paint a part of this bigger picture, making it so vibrant. Thank you so much everyone for everything you’ve done for us.”

To donate toward Esam’s GoFundMe, head to: www.gofundme.com/f/esam-and-raidas-gofundme

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