A single mom from Brooklyn named Donna Fountain, who carried a list of five dreams for a better life with her everywhere she went, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Christmas morning.
As police search for the driver, friends of Fountain, 38, and online news sites like Jezebel are working to try and make some of Fountain's items of her dreams list, including her hopes for her young son, come true.
Donna Fountain, of Crown Heights, N.Y., carried a list with her everywhere she went, five hand-written items scrawled lovingly under the simple title, My Dreams.
They dealt with her hopes for romance, her plans for her son Ellijah, 8, and the dream that one day she could give something back to her community.
But Donna Fountain would not live to see any of those dreams come true.
On her way home from work as a home health care aid, at 7:30 am on Christmas Day, Fountain was run down in a hit-and-run by an unidentified gray vehicle. As the car sped away, the single mom was left to die in the middle of the road.
She was two and a half blocks from home, where her son Elijah waited with his unopened presents.
Donna Fountain's 'Dream List'
She gave everything she had to her son and worked so hard for him, friend Dena Baveghems said. She was all about making her dreams come true. Nothing could have stopped her except this.
It was Baveghems, 28, who first shared what police found on Fountain's body: the contents of the dreams list she carried everywhere.
It was very important to her that she accomplish all of the things that she wrote down, Baveghams told Rapoport.
Fountain's five dreams, in her own words:
- Work on my dream job.
- To buy a house by 45.
- Start housing for gay and lesbian teens.
- Marry the woman of my dreams.
- Make sure Elijah graduates from college!
For Baveghams, the hardest part of Fountain's death was imagining the effect it's having on Elijah, who has been taken in by relatives.
I don't know how he'll go on without his mom, she said. They were incredibly close. She's all he knows, she said.
I'm devastated for him, Baveghams added. To lose the person who took care of him on Christmas is the worst thing I can imagine.
Police Hunting For Hit-and-Run Driver
Police are actively investigating the hit-and-run incident, and have asked for the public's help in finding the killer.
Her brother, Ben Fountain, told The Daily News that investigators have been reviewing traffic footage and are very hopeful that they'll catch the man or woman responsible.
They are 98 percent certain they can catch who did this, Fountain said, before becoming overwhelmed for a moment with emotion.
They took it upon themselves to take a life, he said of the hit-and-run driver. How could they not stop?
'She fought for her dreams.'
Since Christmas weekend, the story of Donna Fountain, whom her brother called an exceptional woman, has spread beyond the Crown Height community to national news, where some sources are working to make at least some parts of her dream list come true.
I wish there was a place we could send money to make sure Elijah could pay for college, Jezebel's Cassie Murdoch wrote. But so far nothing has been set up.
Another item on the sing mom's dream list, however, could be in reach: contributing to a housing project for gay and lesbian teens. Jezebel suggests making a donation to an LGBT youth housing charity such as New York's Ali Forney Center, which provides housing for homeless LGBT youth.
Ben Fountain would be pressed to find a better tribute for her.
She did it all on her own. She built herself up, he said. She believed in herself. She had the normal problems any single parent has, but she persevered and fought for her dreams.
Another neighbor, Jose Morales, agreed.
She's a very good woman. I hope God's got her in heaven, he said. I know she is because she's very, very good.