Fundraiser for Slain Marine Expecting First Child Collects Over $600,000 in Six Days 

Rylee McCollum, 20, was one of the 13 service members killed in the Afghanistan airport attack on Aug. 26

Rylee McCollum
Photo: GoFundMe

A GoFundMe created for the family of a 20-year-old U.S. Marine killed in the Aug. 26 Afghanistan airport attack has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, far surpassing its initial goal.

Rylee McCollum was one of 13 service members killed along with more than 100 civilians during last week's suicide bombing and gun attack, which occurred during evacuation efforts at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.

ISIS-K, a branch of the Islamic State opposed to the Taliban and the U.S., later claimed responsibility for the attack, according to CNN, which also reported that at least 20 Marines were wounded in the attack, and over 170 people were killed.

McCollum, who was a lance corporal, had been sent to Afghanistan from Jordan to help evacuate people from the country after it fell to the Taliban, according to The New York Times. When the explosion went off, he had been manning a checkpoint by the airport.

US Troops in Afghanistan
The British armed forces work with the U.S. military to evacuate eligible civilians and their families out of the country on Aug. 21 in Kabul, Afghanistan. MoD Crown Copyright via Getty

At the time of his death, McCollum was reportedly three weeks away from welcoming his first child with his wife, Jiennah. A GoFundMe created by Into The Breach Supply Co., a clothing company, had raised more than $600,000 as of Friday to cover the future education of McCollum's child — bringing in over 100 times its $5,000 goal.

"This is a fund specifically dedicated to the education and upbringing of Marine Rylee McCollum's child who is expected for September. His sacrifice at HKIA [the airport] to protect the lives of those who cannot themselves will not be forgotten," the fundraiser description reads. "Anything you can provide to aid them would be appreciated more than we can express. Bless."

McCollum had been dreaming of joining the Marines since he was a 3-year-old growing up in Wyoming, his father, Jim, told the Times. McCollum had always fought against injustice, even standing up against bullies in school, his dad said.

"He's the most patriotic kid you could find," Jim told the Times. "Loved America, loved the military. Tough as nails with a heart of gold."

In a statement provided to CNN, McCollum's sister, Roice, said her brother "wanted to be a Marine his whole life." After his time in the military, he planned to become a history teacher and wrestling coach, she said.

"Rylee will always be a hero not just for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country but for the way he impacted every life around him for the better. Making us stronger, kinder, teaching us to love deeper," Roice added. "We love you Rylee."

Clockwise: Nicole Gee, Johanny Rosario, Humberto Sanchez, SSG Ryan Knauss, Rylee McCollum, Maxton Soviak
Some of the U.S. service members killed in the Aug. 26 Afghanistan airport attack, clockwise: Nicole Gee, Johanny Rosario, Humberto Sanchez, SSG Ryan Knauss, Rylee McCollum and Maxton Soviak. Facebook (4); U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sergeant Mark E Morrow Jr; U.S. Army

The fundraiser created by Into The Breach Supply is one of two GoFundMe pages raising money for McCollum's widow and child. The second, which was created by Jill Crayton, is raising money specifically for Jiennah.

"My heart is incredibly heavy today, in the wee hours of the morning my beautiful daughter got that knock on her door that no military spouse wants to get," Crayton wrote. "Her strong, handsome, incredibly brave husband of less than a year was one of the 13 Marines that gave his life yesterday in Kabul."

She added, "She's 36 weeks pregnant and she lost her love … please hold her in your heart and soul because she needs it."

If you would like to support those in need during the upheaval in Afghanistan, consider:

* Donating to UNICEF to aid Afghans in the country or

* Donating to the International Refugee Assistance Project to help those fleeing.

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