Fundraiser for Texas teen whose truck got caught in tornado surpasses $30G goal

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – The $30,000 GoFundMe goal set by a tornado survivor’s school nurse has been surpassed by more than $9,000 as of Saturday afternoon.

Riley Leon said he was driving home from a job interview Monday at Whataburger when his red truck was picked up by a tornado, thrown around a few times and spit out upright. In a now-viral video of the event, the truck can be seen landing on all four tires before speeding away.

“I had missed a couple U-turns due to heavy rain and when I caught a third U-turn — where I was going to take the turn — is when the tornado come and picked up my truck and I went flying,” Leon said.

A school nurse at IDEA Rundberg, a charter school in Austin that Leon attends, started a GoFundMe Thursday for the 16-year-old after she says a conversation with the family made her concerned.

“He said ‘my back has been hurting, it started hurting last night,’” Bianca Jaimes recalled.

That’s when Leon’s mom came to pick him up from school and took him to the doctor’s office, where it was determined that Leon had a facture. The family says they do not have health insurance.

In just a few short days, the fundraiser has surpassed the $30,000 goal set by that school nurse. Jaimes says all of the money donated will go directly to the family.

Those who donated are also offering well-wishes on GoFundMe.

“You seem like a sweet kid that was just trying to work on bettering yourself for you and your family,” wrote one commenter from Houston. “You just got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“This young man needs a break,” wrote another. “He is humble and wants to further his education. We wish him and his family all the best.”

“It means a lot that the school is also trying to help me out and that everybody is worried about me,” Leon said. “Thank God I’m here safe.”

In addition to the fundraiser, Chevrolet is also donating a new truck to Leon on Saturday.

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