Leaving a Legacy: Family starts memorial fund for loved one

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – It’s been nearly three years since the horrific stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair that killed seven people. One of the victims, Alina BigJohny, was from Fort Wayne, and in the years since the accident, her family has worked to honor her legacy. The BigJohny family held a silent auction fundraiser on Saturday afternoon to raise money for a scholarship in Alina’s name.

The Manchester University scholarship is awarded to students with background in education or English. The family said they have the event in August because the month is always a difficult time. Alina’s birthday is August 4 and the stage collapse happened August 13, but they said the fundraiser helps keep them busy and focused on continuing her legacy.

“Even though how tragic the event was, you can still turn it into something positive where we’re able to help others with the scholarship,” Christy Collins, Alina’s older sister, said.

More than a hundred people showed up for the event at Manchester University School of Pharmacy. Items such as autographed footballs from players like Pat McAfee and the entire Seahawks team were a part of the auction as well as gift cards, Miranda Lambert concert tickets, autographed soccer balls from DaMarcus Beasley and other items. People could also purchase food where the proceeds went directly to the scholarship fund.

“For us to be able to have an auction and people actually support us and donate, I know it means the world to Alina and it means a lot to our family,” said Collins.

This year was the first time the family awarded one $1500 scholarship. They said they don’t have a goal, they’re just hoping that the number of scholarships they’re able to give will continue to grow.

If people were not able to make it to the silent auction, but would still like to donate, they can call Manchester University at (260) 982-5218. The university can take credit or debit. Checks can also be sent to Manchester University , Office of Advancement, 604 East College Avenue, North Manchester, Ind. 46962. Make it to the attention of Alina BigJohny Scholarship.

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