CRYSTAL LAKE – A Sycamore boy is organizing a fundraiser to help his elementary school friend Jose Esquivel, the Crystal Lake high school freshman who drowned earlier this month.
Eriq Walker, 14, and his mother, Patricia Walker, of Sycamore, are putting together a fundraiser to be held at Chick-Fil-A, 4812 Northwest Hwy, Crystal Lake, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday. Twenty percent of proceeds from orders of those who mention Esquivel or bring in a flyer from the event will go to Esquivel's family to help with funeral costs.
The event will also feature raffles and games throughout the day to benefit the Esquivels.
Eriq Walker said his desire to help out stems from his own experience. Walker was living under the same roof as his cousin when his cousin passed away in April 2010.
"People were there for us," Patti Walker said. "They did a fundraiser for us. Why not pay it forward to another family."
Esquivel was with friends at a house on Haligus Road when he jumped from a pier into a pond behind the home, authorities have said. When he didn't surface, emergency crews were called to the scene and began a search.
Esquivel was found in eight feet of water just after 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, about an hour and a half after the fire department was dispatched. He was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. at Centegra Hospital - Woodstock.
The Crystal Lake boy, 15, ran cross country and track at Crystal Lake Central High School.
Patti Walker said she was supportive of her son's idea to hold a fundraiser because of the feeling of care it can present from the community to the family.
She said she was proud of Eriq for taking the initiative.
"For a 14-year-old wanting to help out like that, it just shows he has a big heart," she said. "I was behind him and am doing everything I can to help."