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A scholarship in memory of Najee Barnes Lassiter

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My name is Lisa and I am helping Ms. Kim Lassiter raise funds to create a lifetime scholarship in memory of her grandson Najee. The funds will go directly to Ms. Kim for establishing a scholarship at Bronx Community College for other students who, like Najee, lost one of their parents.

Najee lost his mother at six years old from a heart condition and his nana, Ms. Kim, raised him. At 14, he began to have heart problems. Years later he was diagnosed with a rare disease called Danon Disease. It is a condition characterized by the weakening of the heart muscle and intellectual disability. Most men with Danon disease, but only a small percentage of affected women, have an intellectual disability. If present, the disability is usually mild.

Najee transferred his care to NYU at 21 as his condition was not improving. The attending doctor said he would get him a heart transplant. Within 7 weeks he received his new heart on Christmas Eve 2019. It was a miraculous day.

Throughout these years he remained dedicated to his education. With the help of a tutor and his perseverance, he received his Regents diploma. He worked several jobs over the years including Yankee Stadium, Nordstrom and many others. He lived his life like nothing was wrong. There were times his heart had him back in the hospital and he couldn't work, attend class or just live the life of a young man. But he didn't complain. We sometimes take for granted those little things which when you look back, are really the big things. Najee didn't. He lived in the moment and appreciated it. He was learning how to drive. He and his nana took trips to see the world. He was dreaming of working for the FBI and having his own family one day. He was the true definition of living.

Najee graduated from Bronx Community College this June. He didn't walk down the aisle to receive his diploma like the rest of his class. He passed away at the age of 24 on January 5, 2023. The same age his mother was when she passed.

He deserves to have recognition for the way he lived life and touched those around him. It is his nana's passionate wish, Ms. Kim, to have a scholarship in his name at Bronx Community College. She would like it to help deserving students who lost a parent, live their dreams.


  • Nikita Morris
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Lauren McAuliffe
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 7 mos
  • Michael chin
    • $200 
    • 7 mos
  • Layla Edwards
    • $200 
    • 7 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Lisa McAuliffe
New York, NY
Kim Lassiter-Gettys

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