Chris Colgan Starts Fundraiser to Honor Parents
April 20th, 2019, started out like any other day for Chris Colgan Jr., of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Chris, now 18, was 16 at the time and planned on spending the Saturday hanging out with his friends while his dad took his mom out on their boat to celebrate her birthday. Boating was a big part of their lives and it was something they often did as a family. When evening rolled around and Chris had yet to see or hear from his parents. He began to get a little bit worried, noting that his mom’s phone briefly picked up but no voices were on the other end.
Shortly after, Chris received a text from his friend, containing a link to a news broadcast. When Chris opened the link, he found that they were covering a boat crash in the same area where his parents had been out on the water. Even though it was not yet confirmed, Chris said he,
just knew they were gone.
Friends and their parents start showing up at his house in droves to offer support while waiting for further news. Growing impatient, Chris decided to take the 30-minute drive down to the Miami Coast Guard station and find out for himself what was going on with his mom and dad. A woman, who he later identified as a grief counselor, greeted him and informed him of the news that both his parents had in fact passed away in the boating accident.
What Happens Next
Life following this news was chaotic for Chris. He faced the normal difficulties of a teenager, combined with navigating the world without his biggest support system. Chris’ grandfather spent time in the foster care system as a child and stepped in to take care of his grandson. Considering his grandfather was 87 and battling cancer at the time, Chris is beyond appreciative, stating,
He’s just a good person, the kind that’s hard to come by these days.
The stress of losing his parents and finding his own way took a toll on his mental health. Chris began falling behind in school and getting in trouble, ultimately leading to him dropping out. For youth in foster care, educational success is an arduous task, with only 50% finishing high school and only 3% graduating from college.
Motivated for Change
Despite the struggles that Chris has faced at a young age, he has kept an intrinsic motivation to better himself and better the world around him. This past month, Chris Colgan decided to start a fundraiser and use his social media to help Together We Rise. He hopes to support other youth who are navigating the world without their biological parents.
A video on his Instagram account shows a raw, emotional story on why he connects to fundraising for this mission. In less than 12 hours, $1,400 in donations have come in. Chris said,
It was risky to be vulnerable, but his friends really keep him going.
What’s Next for Chris
As for what’s next for Chris, he’s working on his education, business, and carrying out his parent’s honor. Chris plans to obtain his high school diploma and attend a local community college before transferring to finish a four-year degree in either finance or marketing.
He currently works with a boat dealership and has a side business selling boats as well. In addition to feeling connected to his parents through boating, he always wants to stay close to their legacy through giving back. Chris remembers them as being the most generous people he knew. He wants to continue carrying that on through working alongside charities like Together We Rise. When asked what he would say to others thinking about fundraising, he said,
I got lucky. Some kids are caught in the system even more and I want them to know they’re loved and they aren’t alone. There is no price tag on giving back.
Thank You, Chris Colgan, for Starting A Fundraiser
We are so thankful for Chris Colgan for starting his fundraiser and helping others through Together We Rise. He is a testament to the fact that no matter who you are, what you’ve been through, and what you’re facing, it always feels good to give back.
To learn more about Together We Rise’s Education initiatives and how you can give back visit: https://www.togetherwerise.org/giving-tuesday/
To learn more about Chris’ boat business visit him on Instagram @MomentumBoatWorks