Two families receive thousands after loss of Belvidere teens - – Rockford’s News Leader

Two families receive thousands after loss of Belvidere teens

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Four months have gone by since the tragic loss of two Belvidere teenagers.

Last week, their families were given donations, thanks to a community effort, and one woman's idea.

"Everybody's working together to be able to make this happen.  It's kind of how it all fell together." -says Dawn Franklin, who organized the fundraiser in honor of the two girls.

She says there's many people to thank for helping with this fundraiser, including the person who inspired the thought.

"I saw a co-worker of mine have a bracelet on of someone that she had lost several years ago, and she said she just always remembers them and thinks of them everyday. So, when this happened, I had known of that, and I just thought it'd be a great idea." -adds Franklin.

Since donations began, $8,000 has been raised for the families of Brenda Gutierrez and Thalia Arredondo, nicknamed 'The Perfect Two,' who both passed away in a car accident on Highway 76. $7,000 of that total comes from bracelet sales alone, with the jewelry sold at $5 a piece. Franklin works at Rockford Memorial Hospital with Thalia's mother Rachel. She was happy to lend a hand to her friend and co-worker, as well as Brenda's family, in any way she could.

"I'm thrilled to be able to have helped in this way. It doesn't bring their babies back, but it does help off-set some of the costs."

The money, split evenly between families, will be used to purchase a memorial stone for the girls' burial site.

"The girls are sharing a headstone actually, so it'll have both of their names, and have the picture of the girls with their hands together saying 'Perfect Two.' On the backside of the headstone, it's supposed to say the statement that Brenda made to Thalia in one of the last Facebook messages. It said 'If you want me to stay, I'll never leave.'" -says Franklin.

As of right now, extra bracelets will be given away at Belvidere North High School's graduation next spring, to keep the girls' memory alive.

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