An alleged hit-and-run incident that left a four-year-old boy in critical condition has taken an uplifting turn thanks to a kind gesture from the Toronto Raptors.
A motorcycle hit Radiul Chowdhury in the east end of the city on Sunday afternoon and drove off, according to Toronto police. The child was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The driver and passenger reportedly fled the scene, forcing both police and the boy’s father to appeal for them to turn themselves in.
“I forgive you, brother,” father Ruhul Chowdhury told reporters as he fought back tears earlier this week. “If you just want to come to the police, hand over yourself, that would be great.”
On Monday, a 31-year-old man was charged after he surrendered to police and his 2016 Harley Davidson motorcycle was seized. Police say they’re still looking for a female suspect.
While all this was happening, Canada’s only NBA team punched their ticket to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
With fans spending thousands of dollars on tickets for the first two games in Toronto, the organization that owns the Raptors decided to forgo a chance to make more money by donating a pair of tickets to support the Chowdhury family.
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) owns both the team and the Real Sports Bar and Grill in Toronto, where Ruhul Chowdhury works.
‘An unimaginable tragedy’
MLSE announced the ticket auction for Game 1 on Tuesday evening on Twitter. Bidding for the two lower bowl tickets — valued at $4,500 — surpassed $10,500 as of Thursday morning.
The company said all the money raised from the auction will be directly donated to the Chowdhury family. The auction is scheduled to end Thursday at noon.
“As our organization and city rallies behind the Raptors, a member of our team is experiencing an unimaginable tragedy. We want to use this moment to rally behind the entire family and support them in every way we can,” MLSE corporate communications manager Charzie Abendanio told HuffPost Canada.
On Wednesday evening, MLSE revealed Paramount Fine Foods CEO Mohamad Fakih pledged to donate his $10,000 bid even if he doesn’t win the auction.
Colleagues at the Real Sports restaurant also launched an online GoFundMe fundraiser for the Chowdhury family, to support them as they care for four-year-old Radiul.
“All funds donated will be going to the Chowdhury family to help alleviate any financial burdens during the parents time off work, and any possible rehabilitation Radiul may potentially need in the future,” the online fundraiser said.
“Ruhul, who is the father of Radiul has also expressed his desire to use a portion of the funds to help other children back in his home country who do not have the same access to quality healthcare that his son is currently receiving at SickKids.”
Watch: Tickets to watch the Raptors in the NBA Finals are reaching astronomical heights. Story continues below.
As of Thursday morning, the online effort for the Chowdhury family surpassed $19,000, just shy of the goal to raise $20,000.
“Radi is slowing becoming more stable however, the damage to his brain is still unknown but may be significant and the doctors anticipate his recovery will be costly,” campaign organizer Jen Foley wrote in an update on GoFundMe. “Therefore, Ruhul has requested that we continue our efforts in donating so that his son can receive the best care,” she added.
“Please continue to donate to this remarkable family.”
For more details on how to support the family, click here.
With files from The Canadian Press