Over $2.9 million raised in one day for Ralph Yarl, the teen shot after going to the wrong address

The money will go toward the 16-year-old's medical and educational expenses.

ralph yarl
Faith Spoonmore/GoFundMe

Over $2.9 million dollars have been donated to help cover Ralph Yarl's medical expenses.

Ralph Yarl, a Black 16-year-old high school junior, narrowly survived being shot twice on April 13 after going to the wrong Kansas City address to pick up his younger twin brothers. Yarl had simply rung the doorbell when, with no exchange of words, he was shot in the head by the homeowner Andrew D. Lester, an 84-year-old white man. Lester shot Yarl once more after he fell to the ground. Miraculously, Yarl was able to run away, but he would have to run to multiple homes before finally getting help from a neighbor.

Since the incident, people have rallied to demand justice for the teen, including raising over $2,900,000 on GoFundMe. On the fundraiser page, which was created by his aunt, Faith Spoonmore, Yarl is described as a “fantastic kid,” “ a kind soul,” “quiet,” “friendly,” “well-mannered,” “always willing to help,” “super smart,” and a “musical genius.” He was looking forward to visiting West Africa before attending college, where he planned to balance his love of music with pursuing a major in chemical engineering.

“Life looks a lot different right now,” Spoonmore writes of her nephew. “Even though he is doing well physically, he has a long road ahead mentally and emotionally. The trauma that he has to endure and survive is unimaginable. He is our miracle. We have heard these types of stories many times, and unfortunately, most black boys are not alive to get another chance.”

ralph yarl gofundme, andrew lester

Over $2.9 million dollars have been donated to help cover Ralph Yarl's medical expenses.

Faith Spoonmore/GoFundMe

Spoonmore posted a fundraising goal of $2.5 million to cover Yarl’s medical and therapy expenses. Within a day of the GoFundMe launch, donations began pouring in. Thus far, $2,905,680 has been raised, meeting the family’s goal and adding funds toward Yarl’s college expenses and long-awaited trip to West Africa.

Support for the young man has shown up in other ways as well. An illustrated retelling of Yarl’s story, created by cartoon activist Pan Cooke (aka @thefakepan), went viral online, prompting others to share and demand Lester’s arrest.

Meanwhile, actual protests mounted in Kansas City. As of Monday, April 17, Lester will face two felony charges—assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, and Lester turned himself in on April 18.

Spoonmore did give the hopeful update that Yarl is currently at home and able to move around and even communicate. She also wrote that he has been smiling at the kind words being sent to him through emails.

Though Yarl’s family has reached their initial goal, there is indeed still a long road ahead and every bit of support counts. As Spoonmore eloquently put it, “Ralph deserves to have the future that he has dreams about. He deserves to be the light that shows the world that LOVE wins and that humanity is still Good.”

If you are able to donate, you can find Yarl’s GoFundMe page here.

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