LEWISTON — It didn’t take long for community members to rally behind Kellie Foley and her family. 

A crowdfunding campaign on the popular site GoFundMe was launched late last week toward a memorial garden project in honor of Foley’s son, Jayden Cho-Sargent, just a few days after the family was told the current memorial would have to come down.

Cho-Sargent, 13, was struck and killed on his way to school in November at the intersection of Main and Frye streets. A makeshift memorial on a utility pole there has since served as the family’s only way to mourn his loss. 

Foley was told that the items attached to the pole — teddy bears, notes and toys — will eventually have to be removed because of a state law that bans attaching items to a utility pole, but also because of planned improvements to the crossing. 

Initially, Foley and her family were crushed by the news. Because of high costs and winter weather, her son still hasn’t received a burial, and the family has been using the location to grieve. 

Numerous stuffed animals, toys, notes and other items lasted through the long winter because of daily attention from the family, who shoveled around the pole and picked up fallen items. 

However, discussion over the makeshift memorial was quickly swept up on social media, and before long the memorial garden idea had turned into an official project with the help of city staff.

According to the GoFundMe page, a fundraising goal of $2,500 will go toward building the Jayden Cho-Sargent Memorial Garden in Sunnyside Park. 

Foley said Monday that she is “happy, excited, and humbled” by the quick response and plans for the project. She said her sons still play in the park, using the basketball hoop and playground. She said Jayden also enjoyed being there. 

Work is scheduled to take place April 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., she said. 

David Jones, director of Lewiston Public Works, said Monday that he and City Arborist Steve Murch went out to look at potential locations for the memorial last week, but there was still too much snow on the ground.

“So we likely will not have a specific site or design of the garden for a couple of weeks yet,” he said in an email.  

He said they likely would be looking at a 10-square-foot garden. 

Jones, along with Heidi Sawyer, the moderator of the Lewiston community Facebook page “Lewiston Rocks,” was a big reason the project was pulled together so quickly. 

Last week, Jones said the telephone pole memorial will not be removed until work begins on the planned improvements to the intersection this spring. After the accident, the city identified a number of hazardous intersections in the city and has planned projects to boost pedestrian safety. 

Sawyer quickly launched the GoFundMe, which has raised $225 in four days. 

The discussion online has also brought forward some negativity. 

Foley addressed the negative comments she’s received as a result of the public attention, including questions over a previous crowdfunding campaign that raised $11,000. 

On Monday, she emphasized that she did not set up either crowdfunding campaign, and that the previous donated funds were used toward Cho-Sargent’s funeral. (GoFundMe takes 7.9 percent of each donation.)

“People don’t have a clue about the situation,” she said, responding to some of the negative comments. “To me it’s null and void. I don’t need the extra drama on top of him passing.” 

Sawyer, who has taken the lead on the fundraising, along with Robert Reed, said the family decided late Monday to donate any leftover funds from the project to the ROTC program at Lewiston High School. 

Originally, Sawyer had planned to donate any remaining funds directly to the family for burial expenses, but told the Sun Journal that “people’s comments online really hurt the family as they have not asked for any of this.”

Sawyer said Monday that as soon as city staff indicated the project could happen, she knew money would have to be raised for a memorial stone and flowers, “as we want it to be a well-put-together garden that will be cherished forever.”

She said that since the bulk of the work is being planned for April 22, time is short to raise the money.

Foley said the project is still early in the planning stages, but that she wants to be active in the process.

The city will help to administer donations. 

Finance Director Heather Hunter said people can mail donations in check form, made out to the City of Lewiston, with Cho-Sargent’s name in the memo. She said the city hadn’t received any yet. 

Foley said she’s been looking into burial costs for headstones, but that she wants to get something worthy of her son. 

“This is my final goodbye, my final present to him,” she said. “I’m going to get him a good stone.” 

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A runner moves past the makeshift memorial for Jayden Cho-Sargent at Main and Frye streets last week. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to establish a memorial garden, after the family was told the roadside memorial will eventually be removed. 

The GoFundMe for the Jayden Cho-Sargent Memorial Garden can be found at: www.gofundme.com/jayden-chosargent-memorial-garden

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