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Ela Deniz Memorial Fund

$36,995 of $100 goal

Raised by 662 people in 7 months
Created December 11, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Laurel Friedman
Together with the Friedman family, we are raising funds in honor of Ela Deniz, beloved daughter of Laurel Friedman. It is the wish of Ela's mother to memorialize her spirit in an outdoor space with a park or park bench, as Ela so loved to walk in nature.

UPDATE:  While no formal arrangements have been made as the family grieves,  we do know that this money will not only go to memorializing Ela, but also used to help children and families in need in our community. Thank you so much for your generous support and we ask that you continue to make waves for victims and survivors of domestic violence everywhere.
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Dear community -- I am writing to thank you for your generosity, love, support, and continued presence. I am grateful to you all. I wanted to let you know about some of the things that I have been able to do in the last several months and about the incredible actions of members of my community.

Because of your generosity, I have been able to place a memorial bench in Ela’s favorite playground in Lakeland. Another bench will soon be placed in USF’s botanical gardens and yet another in downtown Tampa before the end of the year. These public places for rest and contemplation are immensely comforting to me. Because of your generosity, I have also been able to make financial donations to The Life Center of the Sun Coast and The Spring of Tampa Bay, as well as a series smaller donations to charity projects that friends have taken up in their own communities (food banks, domestic abuse shelters, etc).

Across the country (and soon to be world), friends and family members have participated in charity races. At our kickoff event in Lakeland, FL, a group of 50 of “Ela’s Champions” raised funds and awareness for The Red Tent Initiative. I also recently completed a 5k in Tampa, where I made a donation of money and food to Tampa Bay food banks.

A dear friend started a rock painting movement, where friends from all over the world paint rocks in Ela’s memory and place them in public spaces for others to find. Rocks have been placed along the Camino Del Norte in Spain, across campus at USF, and everywhere in between.

Another beautiful gesture has been the birth Ela’s forest. Again, friends and family across the world have planted trees in honor of Ela that we have been able to map. We have seen fruit trees in backyards, additions to our national and international forests, and even a mini forest surround Ela’s bench in Lakeland.

In November, the Polk Museum of Art will launch an exhibit in honor of Ela’s memory and her growing forest. Any proceeds generated from the sale of the art created for this exhibit will be put towards commissioning a piece of public art in Ela’s honor and memory.

We could not have done any of this without you. Your love, emotional support, and financial generosity have given me the strength and space to do these things. My days are still very dark; a piece of me is forever missing. But a good friend recently pointed out that soon there won’t be a corner of the world that hasn’t been touched by a rock, branch, leaf, or roots that were sparked by Ela’s bright light.

With love and gratitude, Laurel
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From Ela’s loving mother, Laurel:

Thank you all immensely for your words of support. I am finding tremendous comfort in the messages we are receiving here and elsewhere. Thank you, also, for the contributions you have made to Ela's memorial fund. I was blown away when I learned what was happening. The contributions and associated comments have provided me a glimmer of hope in the depths of unbearable despair. I will use these funds to memorialize Ela. But I also plan to dedicate them to serving the needs of children and families in our community. When I am able to stand again, I will begin developing a mission and look for grants to help boost this wellspring into something that I hope will ease the burdens of at least a few others. If you are so inspired, you might also consider donating time or other resources to local organizations in your own communities that serve victims of abuse and domestic violence.

With love and immense gratitude,

Laurel (and family)
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UPDATE: While no formal arrangements have been made as the family grieves, we do know that this money will not only go to memorializing Ela, but also used to help children and families in need in our community. Thank you so much for your generous support and we ask that you continue to make waves for victims and survivors of domestic violence everywhere.
+ Read More
Hello everyone. We are amazed and humbled at the support you have shown! The Friedman family wishes to extend to you their most heartfelt thanks. In response, they have asked us to pass along the following: “The money raised will not only be used to memorialize Ela but also in service of children and families in need. The sheer number of donations has provided immense comfort in these dark times.”

Thank you everyone. We will be posting updates as they emerge — Ela’s legacy will be a force for the betterment of children and families.
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$36,995 of $100 goal

Raised by 662 people in 7 months
Created December 11, 2018
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Laurel Friedman
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Elaine Kennedy
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2 months ago
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