SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit community is mourning the loss of Hany Castaneda, age 26, who passed away April 5 from health complications. A fundraising effort to establish a memorial fund has been launched at GoFundMe.com and has already raised -- at the time of publication -- more than $23,000 of its $100,000 goal.
According to the GoFundMe page, the effort "was created to assist the family in this time of pain with repayment of student loans, associated medical bills due to lack of health insurance, funeral costs, and living expenses."
The page begins by stating, "It breaks our hearts to share the news of the sudden passing of Hany Castaneda. He was a beloved son, adored brother and idolized uncle. He was a man who showed genuine compassion, humility, discipline, and optimism under any circumstances. His work ethic was unmatched and driven internally but also to set a good example for those around you, especially your friends and family.
If you knew Hany, then you know that he was always putting other people’s needs before his with no expectation for anything in return. Hany is remembered as one of the most honest, loyal, generous and respectful people that Summit, NJ has ever been blessed to have."
Castaneda was a Summit High School Class of 2012 graduate and a four-year Hilltopper Football Team member, playing on both the offensive and defensive line.
His Summit Head Coach John Liberato, while noting Castaneda's tremendous work ethic, said, "Hany was a true Hilltopper -- every coach and teammate knew that he was someone you could always count on. Whatever needed to get done he would do."
His sister Rosa called Hany "the best son brother and the best uncle any kid could have. He loved all his friends. He loved to play sports. He was a Hilltopper and was so proud of his hometown. Please let all his friends know how much my baby brother loved them and enjoyed being around them. Thank you all so much for all the memories you guys are sharing with us. We love you all. We would like to thank Kairam for all they are doing for my family. Thank you."
Memorial service plans are yet to be announced, Castenda is survived by godparents Linda and Kenny Decker, Godbrother Jake Decker, and his uncle and aunts Family matildes Santana and Family Castaneda Espinoza, his parents Juana and Alfredo Castaneda, sister Rosa Castaneda, and nephew Geovanni Sarmiento Castaneda.