Community

Auburn community caring for Cullen

The Steele family visits Glenn Brazil, left, and Warren Oas, owners of a classic 1955 Chevrolet, during Sunday’s fundraiser for Cullen at Top Food & Drug in Lakeland Hills. The family includes Colleen and Brian Steele, Aiden, 10, left front, and Cullen, 11. - Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter
The Steele family visits Glenn Brazil, left, and Warren Oas, owners of a classic 1955 Chevrolet, during Sunday’s fundraiser for Cullen at Top Food & Drug in Lakeland Hills. The family includes Colleen and Brian Steele, Aiden, 10, left front, and Cullen, 11.
— image credit: Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

The community came together to raise money for 11-year-old Cullen Steele, a Kent boy who needs a double lung-heart transplant.

Steele, the son of Brian and Colleen Steele, attends fifth grade at Auburn’s Holy Family School, where he participates in the band and drama club. He has been diagnosed with pulmonary atrial hypertension. Doctors at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., recommend a life-saving transplant for him.

An estimated $2,600 in cash donations – from raffles and hot dog sales – was raised Sunday at Top Foods in Lakeland Hills, according to Amy O’Donnell-Riley, community coordinator for Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA).

Events included a barbecue, drawings, a car show and entertainment by Ryan Coleman, a Buddy Holly impersonator.

COTA, a nonprofit organization founded in 1986, is helping local volunteers raise $75,000 for transplant-related expenses. It’s estimated that meeting the goal will cover two years of out-of-pocket expenses the Steele family will incur.

Approximately $30,000 has been raised since May.

Volunteers are needed to assist with fundraising activities. For those interested, contact O’Donnell-Riley at 253-333-1755 or arjunyer@yahoo.com.

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