On Valentine’s Day, a gunman killed 17 people and injured 15 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The senseless and terrifying tragedy rocked the nation, but amidst our grief and rage, bright lights emerged from the darkness. There are the stories of passionate and inspiring student survivors, like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who have now become political activists for issues like gun control, and of heroic teachers and students who risked—and in some cases, gave—their lives to keep others out of harm’s way.
One such bright light from the Parkland shooting is the story of Anthony Borges. He’s only 15 years old, but when the shooting began on Feb. 14, Anthony transformed from a normal teenager into an extraordinary hero who saved the lives of more than 20 of his classmates.
When the gunman tried to enter the classroom where he and other students were located, Anthony threw his body against the door and held it shut with all his might—even as the gunman repeatedly shot him through the door.
“None of us knew what to do. So, he took the initiative to just save his other classmates,” classmate Carlos Rodriguez told “Good Morning America.”
Anthony called his father, Royer, after being shot.
“He just called me and says, ‘Dad, somebody shot me in the back and my leg, too,” Royer told ABC News, calling his son “my hero.”
As a result of his heroism, Anthony was shot five times, including in both of his legs and his back. While he is alive and stable, Anthony has a long recovery ahead of him. He will require more surgeries in the months to come, and not only will these be painful and exhausting, but they will also be costly.
To help cover some of these costs, Royer created a GoFundMe page. The fundraiser collected more than $400,000 in just four days! It’s a testament to how much Anthony’s story touched people across the world.
The veracity of this GoFundMe page has been confirmed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, so those who are inclined to donate can do so safe in the knowledge that the money will actually end up in the hands of the Borges family.
Among those sharing Anthony’s story online and encouraging donations towards his medical expenses are celebs Dane Cook and Olivia Wilde.
Both have posted about the teen’s heroic actions and linked to his fundraising page.
In difficult times like these, it’s important to hold onto these stories of hope and survival. Here’s wishing Anthony a safe and comfortable recovery.
Update: As of Feb. 21, the GoFundMe for Anthony had raised $517,000 and counting, thereby surpassing its fundraising goal of $500,000.
Students and the greater community have been honoring other heroes who gave their lives in the school shooting.