A week after the tragic death of Seaford High School sophomore Joseph Tutaj, a memorial fund has been established for his family.
Tutaj's uncle, Joseph Dolan, set up the donation drive in memory of the late Seaford teen on gofundme.com. In just two days, $6,270 has been raised for the fund, which will be used to help the Tutaj family with medical and burial expenses. In addition to dealing with the sudden loss of their 15-year old son, the father, Robert Tutaj, is battling stage 4 cancer and the family has been living temporarily in Bethpage after their Seaford Harbor home suffered major flooding during Superstorm Sandy.
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"Joe’s family is very appreciative of all the love and support they are receiving from their community and friends during this very difficult time," said Dolan on the Joseph Tutaj Memorial page. "We have established this memorial fund with the proceeds going directly to the family to help with medical and burial expenses. Anything beyond that will be used to get their lives back to some sense of normalcy. The family grieves deeply for the loss of their son but takes comfort in knowing how many lives Joe touched in his short 15 years."
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Tutaj died while on a school-sponsored band trip to Southern California after complaining of a high fever. An autopsy was completed last week, but additional tests will be needed before determining a cause of death.
In addition to the online memorial fund, Wantagh AMF Lanes has scheduled a fundraiser for the Tutaj family on April 5 from 6-9 p.m. Tutaj was an avid bowler in the Wantagh Lanes PAL. For further information on the bowling fundraiser, call 516-781-1460 and ask for Pattie Liotta or Xavier Illescas.
Funeral arrangements for Tutaj have been finalized. A wake is scheduled at Charles G. Schmitt Funeral Home on Merrick Road in Seaford with visiting hours on Saturday from 7-9 p.m. and Sunday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral will take place on Monday at St. William the Abbot Roman Catholic Church in Seaford at 10 a.m.