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Salem community rallies behind couple

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Salem community rallies behind couple

SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) –

A community is now rallying behind a Salem couple. The wife and school teacher is experiencing health issues after giving birth to a baby boy last month.

“The two of them work as public servants, Samantha as a elementary school teacher, CJ has a firefighter and paramedic. They give back so much in the course of their occupation. They are the most modest, humble people that you will ever come across,” Matt Rickman, Deputy Fire Chief for Salem Fire-EMS, said.

So Rickman, a close friend and co-worker of CJ Schaffer, says it’s time to give back to them.

“And repay them for everything they’ve given,” he said.

That’s why when Rickman found out CJ and Samantha Schaffer were struggling, he created a GoFundMe page with an original goal of $10,000.

“Thinking that that was going to be an optimistic goal, and honestly, I’ve had to reset the goal at least four times,” Rickman said.

The page has now raised over $50,000 in less than three days. And Samantha’s best friend Krista Matzuga says she knows why.

“Both of them are really dedicated to public service, and I really think that’s one of the real reasons that the community has rallied around them. I think it’s a reflection and testament to the type of people they are, and no one wants to see someone that you care for struggle like this,” Matzuga said.

The couple gave birth to a healthy boy named Anderson in July, but shortly after, Samantha was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome–a serious complication of high blood pressure during pregnancy. She was rushed into life-saving surgery and now is undergoing renal dialysis for kidney disease.

“They don’t deserve what’s happened to them. I’ll tell you that, both my husband and I think they’re the most selfless, loyal hardworking people we know,” Matzuga said.

But she’s thankful the fundraising efforts will help this couple with their medical costs.

“f you know them, you love them, and I’m really confident in the support and the community is going to continue to rally behind them, and they’re going to make it through this,” Matzuga said.

She told WDBJ7 she spoke with the couple recently, and while they say they’re too emotional to speak on camera, they’re both overwhelmed and overjoyed by all the support from the community.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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