Extra Effort: Metamora Girls Rally Around Hospitalized Basketball Manager

Local Sports

METAMORA, Ill. — The Metamora girls basketball is having a nice season but something is missing now.

“You hear chatter, we miss V. Something is off about the game because V is not there,” said sophomore giard Katie Lalumandier. “We want him back.”

V is Vidal Paulino, the 16-year-old student manager for the team. He’s in the hospital after heart surgery.

And now he needs a heart transplant.

“I was thinking we should do something for him. He does so much for us. He gives us water and Gatorade,” said senior guard Lexi McClure. “But we want to help his family.”

So Lalumandier and McClure planned a school and community-wide fundraiser for Tuesday night’s game against Washington. The school sold raffle tickets, hosted a bake sale and halftime shootout, and the players wore special t-shirts for Vidal.

In all, $1,795 was raised to help defray the medical bills for Vidal, who’s being transferred from Peoria to Kansas City for the transplant. He has had issues with his heart since his birth.

“I want to raise a lot of money so Vidal can see all these people come to support him, seeing the love everyone has for Vidal,” said McClure.

The team hasn’t been able to see Vidal since he went into the hospital for his first surgery last month. He’s still recovering and getting ready for the next big procedure.

But they say when the time is right and they can visit him, they can’t wait to share their fundraising story with him.

“When he wakes up he is going to be so blessed to hear that we had a whole night for him,” said Lalumandier. “I don’t think he is going to be able to say thank you enough. He is humble and it will be special to him when he wakes up.”

his family has started a Go Fund Me page which has raised over $22,000 for the hospital bills. You can see that page at www.gofundme.com/f/5qmxx-vidal-paulino-fund

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