An online fundraiser has been set up at gofundme.com to help pay for the funeral of a young Brandon mother of two who died on Dec. 30.
The "Whitney Downey Funeral Fund," set up at gofundme.com, had raised $1,195 of its $10,000 goal by press time on Monday, about 24 hours into the effort.
Close friend Ladouceur Cashala set up the fundraiser, which Downey’s husband Dana Hoffos said has been well received by the family.
"I didn’t even know she was doing it," Hoffos said. "I’m very grateful that she’s doing everything she can to help."
While they’re keeping the cause of death within the family, Hoffos said that regardless of cause, Downey leaves behind two young boys, aged four and five, and many others who loved and cared for her.
Brandon Police Service confirmed on Monday that the death was not criminal in nature and that the gofundme.com page appears to be legitimate.
Downey, 27, grew up in Brandon and went to École secondaire Neelin High School.
"She was kind to everyone she met, she loved to have fun and she played guitar," Hoffos said. "Music was her life."
Rather than perform the songs she wrote for public audiences, she played them for small groups of friends and family.
"She had a beautiful voice and probably the best mother I’ve ever seen in my whole life," Hoffos said. "She loved her kids so much and did absolutely everything for them."
Heartbroken, Hoffos didn’t quite know what to say on Monday other than to thank Cashala for setting up the online fundraiser.
Corresponding by online messaging to avoid the heavy emotions of saying words aloud, Tasha Chambers described Downey as more a sister to her than a friend.
"She was the only person I could tell anything to, who would understand and give me the advice I needed to keep going," Chambers wrote.
"She could light up a room with her smile and laughter. When she laughed, everyone laughed. She was just full of energy."
Regardless of how the gofundme.com fundraiser turns out, Hoffos affirmed his gratitude for those who have contributed thus far or plan on contributing.
"Just thank you everyone for all of the support," he said. "She knows everyone’s here for her boys."
The direct link to the Whitney Downey Funeral Fund is gofundme.com/ whitney-downey-funeral-fund.
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