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Astoria Teen Launches Fundraiser to Pay for College After Losing Both Parents to COVID-19

Roberto Tobias Jr. (gofundme)

July 15, 2020 By Allie Griffin

An Astoria teen has launched a gofundme campaign to raise money for his college education after losing both his parents to the coronavirus.

Roberto Tobias Jr., a rising senior at Frank McCourt High School in Manhattan, launched the fundraiser two days ago and has already received more than $37,000 of his $50,000 goal.

The 17-year-old lost both his parents to the deadly virus in just two months and as a result has no means of income to fund his education, according to the gofundme page.

Tobias, his older sister and his parents all contracted the virus in March, he wrote in a description for the fundraiser.

His 72-year-old diabetic father, Roberto Tobias Sr., was the first to become severely ill. As his health deteriorated, Tobias’ mother, a nurse, used her vacation days to care of him, he wrote.

His mother, Lodia Tobias, who was 61 and also diabetic, contracted COVID-19 as well. Both parents were eventually hospitalized as their conditions worsened.

Tobias Sr. succumbed to COVID-19 on May 30 and Lodia passed a month later on June 30.

“My parents were amazing and lived exceptional lives,” the younger Tobias wrote.

The couple were both raised in the Philippines in impoverished homes, but attended university there to advance their economic opportunities. They met in their native country and immigrated to the U.S. in 1990 to begin a family together, Tobias Jr. wrote.

Tobias Sr. worked as a bartender at the Windows of the World in the World Trade Center and his wife was a head nurse at Harlem Hospital Center.

The teen — who completed his junior year with a 93 GPA — said his parents’ dedication to education continues to inspire him. He has worked as an assistant at Mt. Sinai Queens and is a member of the student government at Frank McCourt High School.

“My realization of my dreams came from inspiration from my parents, learning my true passions, and the discovery of what I wanted to pursue in my life,” Tobias Jr. wrote.

The high schooler hopes to study pre-med and later attend medical school to pursue a career as a neurosurgeon.

“With the passing of my parents, the security of my future is unclear because I don’t have a source of income to help fund my education,” he wrote. “Hopefully, with this fundraiser, I’ll be able to help fund my first year of college while I work towards funding my own career.”

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