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Strangers Donate Nearly $50,000 To Keep Vanderbilt Student In School

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Despite what the 24/7 news cycles filled with death and destruction would lead you to believe, there is still some good in the world. Thanks to the reach of the Internet and the kindness of complete strangers, an Illinois teenager is able to stay in college.

Cassie Wessely, 19, is from Grayslake, Ill. On her website, Cassie explained her mother had residential custody of her following her graduation from high school, and that her financial aid from Vanderbilt University was determined by her unemployed mother’s income. Sadly, three weeks before Cassie moved to Nashville, Tenn., her mother committed suicide.

From DailyMail:

But just three weeks before the teen headed to college, her mother killed herself. Wessely explained to Today that her mother had struggled with her brother’s death from an overdose five years prior.

‘It was a difficult year, but I did my best to persevere,’ Wessely wrote on her fundraising page.

But after her freshman year, she lived with her father in Chicago and he took on residential custody of her, so her financial aid was based on his 2013 income.

Then earlier this year, he lost his job. With the financial aid already based upon his previous earnings, Wessely learned that she was about $24,000 short for the year.

Cassie created a GoFundMe campaign with hopes of securing $25,000 to help pay off the remainder of this year’s tuition.

Within days, she reached more than $6,000 in donations. As of right now, she is closing in on $50,000.

Cassie posted the following update to her GoFundMe page.

From GoFundMe:

Seeing as today marks one year since my mom has been gone, I thought it would be appropriate to thank you all again from the bottom of my heart. Today was of course very difficult, but I cannot thank you enough for gifting me with the blessing of having another year at Vanderbilt to look forward to! It is such a beautiful gift on this day and I can’t help but be thankful. Also, one of the number one questions that I keep receiving is “what are you going to do with the extra money?” There was never any hesitation in knowing that it would all be going towards the next three years at Vandy, instead of solely this year. Again, thank you very much, and it’s all of YOU who are inspiring to ME!

Good on you, Internet.

[via DailyMail]

Image via GoFundMe

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Bogey Wells

Bogey Wells is a Senior Freelance Writer for TFM News and a former summer pledge intern at TFMHQ. His Spotify playlists are pure garbage. Email:

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