San Diego residents will unite Saturday for multiple fundraisers to help a mother who lost her two sons -- ages 11 and 12 -- in a horrific crash as they made their way home from a family party where they had celebrated the youngest boy's birthday.
A car wash fundraiser is planned at 12 p.m. at 130 S. 30th Street in San Diego to collect donations for the Lemus family. And two food sales are also planned throughout the day. According to a flyer for the event, donations will go toward covering funeral expenses for "two loving angels," brothers Israel and Adrian Lemus.
A GoFundMe page has been up and running in support of the family all week, too. As of 9 a.m. Saturday, that online fundraiser had amassed nearly $29,000 in donations of its $45,000 goal. The GoFundMe page is being managed by Lidia Lemus, the aunt of the Lemus brothers who spoke about her nephews earlier this week with NBC 7.
The goal is to be able to give the boys a proper burial, as their mother, Elena Lemus, continues to recover from the crash that shattered the family's world.
Elena Lemus woke up in the hospital earlier this week to learn that she had been in a terrible accident with her sons, and that her boys did not survive.
"How can a mother deal with the loss of two boys?" Elena Lemus' sister, Lidia Lemus, told NBC 7. "A single mother. That's the reason she would work so hard."
Elena Lemus was driving back to San Diego from Menifee, California, on the night of Nov. 1, with her boys. The trio had been visiting family, celebrating Israel Lemus' 11th birthday.
The final cellphone video recorded of the boys by a family member showed them singing "Happy Birthday" to Israel Lemus, smiling and enjoying cake, as any child does.
At around 11 p.m. that night, for unknown reasons, Elena Lemus' Toyota Corolla hit a truck parked on the shoulder of Interstate 15 near Pomerado Road, then slammed into a box truck.
The crash killed the pre-teen brothers and left their mother hospitalized with a brain bleed and other injuries.
Elena Lemus woke up at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla a few days later and learned of the tragic news.
Lidia Lemus said the boys were the center of their mother’s world. She said her sister, a single mother, worked two jobs to support her children.
"She did everything to keep a smile on their faces and that's exactly how they left us," Lidia said. "Their last moments were very, very happy."
The online fundraising page for the brothers described them as having "the ability to capture the love of anyone they met with their energetic and caring nature."
Elena Lemus was discharged from the hospital on Thursday where for the,"first time she had to face the world without her boys," according to the GoFundMe page.
The deadly crash remains under investigation but California Highway Patrol officials said all three family members were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash.