Thousands of dollars were raised at a popular Union Square restaurant this afternoon to help curb the rising medical costs for a 9-year-old boy who was injured in a hit-and-run in San Francisco last week.
Plates were piled high with food in the name of Philadelphia Phillies fan Ryan White, who was struck in the city’s South of Market neighborhood after he watched his team beat the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, Lefty O’Doul’s owner Nick Bovis said.
Bovis donated half of the proceeds from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Lefty O’Doul’s and his other restaurant, Broadway Grill in Burlingame, to fund Ryan’s medical bills and other expenses.
About $2,500 was raised today, but through the Lefty O’Doul’s Foundation for Kids, Bovis said about $4,000 has been donated directly to help Ryan.
Lefty O’Doul’s is no stranger to fundraisers–it typically raises money to donate baseball equipment or sponsor Little League teams–but this one hit home, Bovis said.
It is also personal for Ryan’s 27-year-old cousin who organized the fundraiser, Woody Hooten.
“It affects the whole family,” Hooten said at today’s fundraiser.
He said Ryan’s 12-year-old brother, Kevin, has been affected the most. Both were with Ryan when a white truck struck him as he crossed Mission Street.
The truck, which was turning left on Mission Street, had been driving north on New Montgomery Street, which is a one-way southbound street, Hooten said.
San Francisco police arrested Hayward resident Andrew Vargas, 21, after Hayward police stopped his truck. He was charged by the district attorney’s office Tuesday with two counts of felony drunken driving with injury and one felony count of hit-and-run with injury.
Ryan suffered a traumatic brain injury, fractures to his pelvis, left leg, and ankle, and lacerations to his liver.
“Every day he makes progress,” Hooten said. Ryan started to say his first words and can drink water, he said. “It really does seem like he’s doing good.”
Hooten said his cousin would be upset about missing visits from Phillies and Giants players, including Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino.
Those who wish to donate money for medical bills and expenses can visit http://kidsneedbaseball.com/ and contribute directly to Ryan. Checks can also be sent to Ryan White at P.O. Box 542, San Francisco, CA 94104.
Rachel Purdy, Bay City News