Posted: Jun 27, 2012 6:43 PM by Jenise Fernandez
Updated: Jun 27, 2012 6:54 PM
A Lafayette family is heartbroken, after someone stole a donation jar to raise money for a toddler's heart surgery.
Three-year-old Sofia Raines was born with a rare heart defect. Her first surgery came when she was three days old and now she needs another one.
"If she's not able to get the surgery she could die. Right now, she's down to 80 percent flow out of her heart," said her aunt Melissa Paulsen.
The surgery costs $300,000 and the family needs to pay $30,000 up front to get the surgery. Paulsen placed donation jars at stores around Lafayette. When she went to collect the jar at Ossun Market, she discovered someone stole it.
"It's heavy on my heart. We're trying so hard to help her and it's just one glitch, but it hurts because it was in my neighborhood," said Paulsen.
Employees at Ossun Market say the surveillance video doesn't show the donation jar because the camera is positioned away from it. The workers plan on going through all the footage shot over the weekend to see if anyone walked out with it.
"You don't do that. That's wrong. You don't take something from a little girl," said Paulsen.
Paulsen says the jar had about 40 dollars in it. The owner of Red Barn Feed and Garden gave Paulsen the money that was lost, but there's still a long road ahead.
"God doesn't punish with a stick. What goes around comes around," she added.
So far, the family has $12,000. Sofia's surgery is July 9 at Boston Children's Hospital. She'll need to stay there for about four weeks and the family is also struggling to pay for hotel stay and airfare.
There will be a fundraiser at the Cajun Harley-Davidson on Saturday July, 7. The event will be from 8 am to 3 pm. Additional donations can be made at any Capitol One location in the name of Sofia Ann Raines. For more information contact Heath Alleman at 337-654-4245.