CHICAGO — More than $70,000 has been raised to help the family of a beloved Illinois Masonic nurse who died while on a family vacation in the Philippines.
Dexter Corpuz, of Jefferson Park, went with his wife and two daughters to visit the country. The day before they were to come home last week, Corpuz suffered a "brain bleed" and needed emergency surgery, according to a GoFundMe campaign raised to help the family.
Corpuz was in critical condition after the surgery, and his coworkers at Illinois Masonic Medical Center tried to think of ways they could help the family.
Elizabeth Ang, Corpuz's friend and a nurse at the hospital, launched the GoFundMe, hoping to raise $5,000 that could cover the costs of Corpuz's emergency surgery and help the family. She worried that would be too much to ask of people, but decided to try.
The campaign started about 9 a.m. Sunday. Employees at Illinois Masonic shared the news by word of mouth, Ang said, and news spread quickly.
The campaign met its goal within hours and Ang had to raise it — a feat that repeated multiple times throughout the day.
"It's really been like a great support from the community of Masonic," said Ang, of Uptown. "That's the greatness of the hospital ... [it] has been a family."
By the time Ang went to bed Sunday night, more than $35,000 had been raised for Corpuz and his family.
Overnight, word of the campaign spread outside the Illinois Masonic community to family and friends and donations grew. Multiple people donated $1,000 apiece, and Radiation Oncology Consultants gave the campaign $2,500.
As of Saturday, more than $70,000 had been raised by more than 600 people.
Ang credited Illinois Masonic's tight-knit community for the response — and said many people care for Dexter, his wife Janice and their two young daughters. Dexter and Janice Corpuz have both worked as nurses at Illinois Masonic, and Ang has known them for more than a decade.
"Dexter is a great guy," Ang said. "He's a great father, a great husband. He's that great friend. ... He's always concerned about what's going on with you."
Corpuz died on Saturday. The fundraising crew has talked to his family about how they can access the money that's been donated to help them.
"He's just a true, wholesome guy," Ang said. "If you ever get to know him, he has touched a part of your life."