More Than $100,000 Raised for Lesbian Athlete Disowned by Family

Emily Scheck, a 19-year-old cross-country runner, is now living without parental support.

A New York college athlete, rejected by her parents for being a lesbian, has received overwhelming financial support from strangers.

Emily Scheck, a star cross-country runner at Buffalo's Canisius College, was kicked out of her home in August after her parents discovered on social media that she had a girlfriend. Scheck’s father reportedly drove from Rochester to Buffalo, put her personal belongings in the trunk of her car, and left a note telling her to never contact her family again.

Given the option to return home and seek therapy, Scheck chose to stay in the dorms and live without her parents' financial support. While also pursuing her business degree, the 19-year-old sophomore now works two jobs to afford tuition.

Scheck’s friends launched a GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $100,000 from 2,573 people to cover her various educational and living expenses, far exceeding its $5,000 goal.

"Help her focus on school instead of working to make ends meet," wrote Scheck's teammate Grace, the campaign organizer. "Help her feel accepted. Help her feel like herself."

The NCAA initially ruled that accepting donations through the online fundraiser would disqualify Scheck as a student athlete, but the organization reversed its decision following public outcry.

“I now know that family is not always something you have but something you find," says Scheck in a statement. "Thank you to everyone who showed their love and support in this difficult time. The positive outreach has been unbelievable.”

Although the fundraiser was capped off at $100,515 after 16 days, Grace encourages people to donate to other LGBTQ organizations benefitting students like Scheck.

Grace also wrote an update on the GoFundMe page that Emily and her girlfriend, Justyna, spent Thanksgiving together.

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