BELMAR, NJ — The social media fundraising campaign established for the families of the two Belmar drowning victims has closed, bringing in nearly $63, 000 from some 600 donors.

“Through your support we have far surpassed our initial goals and have raised over $60,000 to be split between the two families,” the fund’s message read. “It is because of all of you that we can make a few things financially easier for them as they go through what no parents ever should. Thank you everyone who contributed."

The GoFundMe campaign was established by Belmar Mayor Matthew Doherty several days after 13-year-old Mitzi Hernandez-Nicolas was pulled from the ocean off the Belmar beach on June 15 and was pronounced dead. Her 12-year-old cousin, Emily Gonzalez Perez, was rescued and survived on life support for four days before succumbing to her injuries resulting from the tragic incident.

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In addition to the online fundraiser, Doherty designated $20,000 from this year’s Mayor Ball held on June 23 as a donation to the families as well. The monies are earmarked to be used to offset funeral and medical costs.

Known for always being together— whether it was playing soccer, spending time at the park or trips to the beach— Hernandez-Nicolas and Gonzalez Perez attended Belmar Elementary School.

A funeral for both girls was held on June 23 at St. Rose Roman Catholic Church, Belmar. Interment for will take place at the family’s cemetery in Mexico, according to the Oceanside Memorial Home, Lake Como, which handled the arrangements. 


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