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Strong Youth aims to raise $25G for Uniondale shooting victim

STRONG Youth, an anti-gang advocacy group, announced on Thursday May 4, 2017 a fundraising effort during the Long Island Marathon to help a teen who was shot and paralyzed. Marvin Herrera, a 16-year-old Uniondale High School student, was the victim of a drive-by shooting when he was 14 and he has been in and out of facilities because his parents have struggled to finaince his housing and transportation.  (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

An anti-gang advocacy group is mounting a fundraising effort during this weekend’s Long Island Marathon to help a Uniondale teenager who was shot and paralyzed.

Strong Youth has pledged $25,000 on behalf of Marvin Herrera, 16, a Uniondale High School student who police say was the victim of a drive-by shooting two years ago.

The Uniondale-based nonprofit has 15 runners in the marathon who are raising money by asking for $50 pledges.

Herrera was riding his bicycle on Argyle Avenue, headed to a Uniondale park on Aug. 6, 2015, when shots were fired from the passenger window of a 1995 black Honda at 11:50 a.m., police said.

The teen, who was shot three times, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center where he survived but was left a quadriplegic.

Months later, police arrested a man in connection with the shooting and charged him with second-degree murder.

Since the shooting, Herrera has been in and out of hospitals and nursing homes, moving constantly because of the family’s financial constraints. Herrera has had to settle twice in New Jersey and once in Smithtown, and is now at a facility in Albany. His parents drive out every weekend to see him.

Strong Youth is trying to raise $25,000, which organizers hope would enable the family to move Herrera to a permanent facility close to home and purchase a modified van to transport him. So far, the group has collected nearly $10,000 in donations from their website.

“We wanted to be able to help Marvin really deal with some of the challenges that come as a result of his injuries,” said Rahsmia Zatar, the group’s executive director.

“We made a commitment from the moment we saw him in that hospital and attached to these machines,” said the group’s founder, Sergio Argueta.

“About two years ago, my son was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Herrera’s mother, Patricia. “We never imagined that we would have to deal with the problems that we’re dealing with now. It’s been very difficult.”

Eddie Herrera said the outpouring of support has buoyed his son’s spirits.

“He’s very thankful of the people who have supported him and who have visited him,” said the father, a construction worker. “It gives him hope and motivation to keep going.”

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