(CNN) — They lost their father on Christmas Eve. Now, a community in Washington state is stepping up for two young boys who have felt this kind of pain before.
“Thought my dad was wrapping presents somewhere. Went in his room and he was just asleep — dead on the bed,” Jordan Rice said.
It was a devastating blow for Jordan and Brad Rice — just 16 and 19 years old, respectively. Unfortunately, the boys are going through something they’ve gone through before.
In 2008, the boys lost their mother to cancer.
“He was turning 10 the next day, and I was turning 13. I had to grow up faster than most of my friends I felt like, after my mom passed. Now I have to keep an eye out for my brother and play the part that my dad did,” Brad Rice said.
From that overwhelming sense of responsibility came a GoFundMe.com page, set up by a close family friend. As of Thursday evening, January 1st, more than $45,000 has been raised.
The money will help with funeral expenses for their father, but it will also help Brad Rice obtain legal custody of his younger brother, who is still in high school. The money will also be used to help with the boys’ college educations.
“I was just so excited for him to open up what I got him for Christmas,” Brad Rice said.
While Corey Rice won’t ever get to see the stack of Seahawks-themed presents from his sons, Brad and Jordan believe his last gift to them came in the form of loving neighbors, friends and even strangers — who filled a restaurant as part of a fundraising effort for the boys.
“He’d be happy for us — that we have so much help and support from everyone around us,” Brad Rice said.
Donations to the boys’ GoFundMe.com account can be made by CLICKING HERE.