At 10 years old, Riley Mossa-Folk has faced incredible loss, with the death of both her mom and dad within a single year. Her extended family has rallied around her in the ensuing months and will be hosting a fundraiser on Sunday at Wolf Hollow Brewing Company.
“She’s been very resilient through the whole thing,” said Kayla Addington, Riley’s cousin, who helped organize the fundraiser and set up a GoFundMe campaign for the Scotia girl. “She’s just a light of life. It’s unbelievable. You would never guess that she’s been through what she’s been through.”
Shortly after New Year’s last year, her father, Christopher Folk, died at 41 after a brief illness. Then, on Dec. 14, her mother, Adina Mossa, died at age 39, after battling scleroderma and COVID-19.
At the time, Riley also had the virus.
“Two weeks before Christmas . . . not only is she in isolation because she’s got covid, she just lost her mom,” Addington said, who has a close relationship with Riley.
“It was incredibly challenging for my whole family to accept that we had lost my uncle in January and then in December we were already grieving for her mother.”
Riley is being cared for by her mother’s sister, Lydia Mossa, who also has two children. She’s lived with her aunt and cousins for much of her childhood.
“Everybody realized it’s best to leave her where she’s comfortable, she’s been through so much that nobody wants to uproot her or do anything to take away any more of her normalcy. Her aunt is more than willing . . . to take care of [Riley],” Addington said.
To alleviate some of the financial stress on Lydia, Addington started a GoFundMe campaign about a month ago. Her family has also been chipping in for gymnastics lessons, which Riley loves. They hope to raise funds for anything she may need in the future, including glasses, braces, college tuition, etc.
So far, the GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $3,000 and community members have donated in other ways beyond that too, sending checks in the mail and sending money via Venmo.
For the fundraiser on Sunday, local businesses and community members also donated gift cards, wine, luggage and other items to raffle off. Wolf Hollow will be donating $1 for each pint sold during the event. Two For The Road food truck and Whisky Business will be serving up food as well.
Addington has been encouraged by all the support from the community.
“We just received such an outpouring of love from everybody,” Addington said. “It’s really heartwarming because there’s a lot of bad things going on in the world and I think the past couple years have been really stressful for so many people for so many reasons and so to know that there’s still so much good out there and that people just want to do the right thing, it makes me feel so good.”
On Sunday, people are welcome to come out to share any stories of Riley’s parents.
“If they were friends of Riley’s mom or my uncle they can come and tell Riley their stories and just show their support in that way,” Addington said.
Despite all she’s been through, Riley’s remained “very happy [and] very sweet,” Addington said. “Everybody at school loves her, her teachers love her, kids are always wanting to play with her . . . they all just have such good things to say about her.”
“She’s really remarkable so we don’t ever want her to feel limited by the fact that she doesn’t have any parents to help her through life,” Addington said.
The fundraiser will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at Wolf Hollow Brewing Company, 6882 Amsterdam Road, Schenectady. To donate via GoFundMe, visit Contribute to Riley’s Future on GoFundMe.org.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County, Scotia Glenville