Community rallies for family of Westland boy killed trying to save his dog

A local coffee shop hosted a fundraiser to help the family of a little boy killed after he darted into traffic to save his dog.

"It's pretty amazing how everybody has come out to support our family," said Tim Sleep.

Sleep is the step-father of 10-year-old Gage Carter, the child who died Saturday night chasing his beloved dog Stitch. -The two ran into traffic and were hit by a car in Westland - a city that has now responded by rallying to help his family.

"It just warms my heart to see how the community can come together during a tragic time for this family," said Mohamad El Fakir. "So we want to help as much as we can and like I said, the community has just been phenomenal."

Biggby Coffee owner Mohamad El Fakir raising more than $2,000 from sales and donations Wednesday morning to help with Gage's funeral. People from all over stopped by, like Rich and Jane Alder.

"The kid's just concerned about his dog and ..." said Rich Alder.

Even Westland police.

"It's an absolute tragedy that happened here," said Westland Police Sgt. Robert Wilkie. "The only positive part we can (take) from this is watching the community come together. The response from everybody has been overwhelming."

All of it overwhelming for Gage's family - Tim Sleep stopped by the store earlier in the day - just to say thank  you.

"Vizzy's pizza, Biggby, for sure, Toarmina's pizza - the VFW 3323 right here on Wayne Road,  Harrison's funeral home in Garden City," Sleep said. "All fantastic people."

Sleep says the kindness of so many has helped them through this tragedy and while they mourn - he's also concerned for the driver who hit Gage and his dog.

"It was a horrible accident, that she's a victim of, too," Sleep said. "She's got to live with it for the rest of her days, too, you know."

A GoFundMe set up for the family is no longer accepting donations but raised $26,000. It's more than they needed for funeral services - so it will help others.

"We're going to take some of the proceeds from the GoFundMe account and donate it to - The Tears Foundation - which is a foundation for parents that children have passed and it will help take some of the thinking out of it for them. They'll help, so they can mourn."

Visitation begins Thursday. For those who would like to pay their respects, the viewing will be held at Harris RG and GR Funeral Home, located at 31551 Ford Rd. in Garden City. Visitation hours are Thursday, November 3 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday, November 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Services will be on Saturday, November 5 at Merriman Road. Baptist Church, located at 2055 Merriman Rd. in Garden City. The church will open at 10 a.m. and services will begin promptly at 11 a.m.

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