WINTHROP, Maine — Communities are coming together to support a Winthrop family that’s suffered a sudden loss.
Kelsey Stoneton, 17, died on Friday of a pulmonary embolism, which is a blockage of arteries in her lungs.
“She has the most beautiful smile anyone has ever seen,” said her sister, Haley Stoneton.
Her dad, Joel Stoneton, said Kelsey Stoneton had trouble breathing at a recent field hockey game.
Last week, they were at the hospital having tests done and were supposed to go back on Friday. But that morning, Stoneton collapsed.
“I was very privileged that I was able to tell her that I loved her after I resuscitated her,” said Joel Stoneton. “She was able to say she loved me back.”
Kelsey Stoneton was among the top five students in her class at Winthrop High School, and she was captain of the field hockey team. Joel Stoneton said her number eight jersey will be retired.
It’s unbearable for the Stonetons to think of the bright future that was just ahead, and they aren’t the only ones grieving.
“She’s the type of individual you’d love to have by your side,” said Gary Rosenthal, the superintendent of schools.
Rosenthal said Kelsey Stoneton touched countless lives in her school and community.
“This community really does rally around its own,” he said.
A GoFundMe account raised over $12,000 in just days, and several businesses are hosting fundraisers.
The Red Barn in Augusta will hold a benefit 4-8 p.m. Thursday, with 50 percent of all sales donated to the Stoneton family.
Fast Eddie’s Drive-In, where Kelsey worked, will raise money on Friday evening.
The Winthrop House of Pizza will host a fundraiser 4-7 p.m. Saturday.
Fielder’s Choice Ice Cream in Manchester also will be helping out. The shop employs nine Winthrop students who have been impacted by the tragedy. The children, and other employees, have decided to donate all their tips collected between Aug. 4-10 to the Stoneton family. The company plans to match that number.
Joel Stoneton said the money will go toward funeral expenses, thanking the first responders who tried to save Kelsey Stoneton’s life and establishing a scholarship in her name.
“She wanted to connect with everybody, and that’s why it’s such a ripple effect. She’s so connected to everybody,” he said.
Stoneton’s mom, Kimberly Stoneton, said her daughter wanted to be a nurse. She said that her daughter would be happy to know that some of her organs were donated, and she’s asking that people share memories of Kelsey Stoneton online using #justsmile.
A wake will be held at Roberts Funeral Home in Winthrop on Wednesday, followed by funeral services on Thursday.