The sister of a Northport High School student-athlete who was hit by a car Tuesday morning has launched an online fundraiser to help her brother on his road to recovery. In less than four days, it has already raised nearly $85,000.
“The response has been tremendous,” said Ayla Lerner, a junior at Northport High School. “Our local community has been absolutely amazing in showing their support.”
Lerner’s 14-year-old brother, Miles, was on his way to cross-country practice Sept. 4 when he was struck by a 2005 Honda sedan traveling eastbound on Laurel Hill Road at 8:06 a.m., according to police. He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital with serious injuries.
“Our local community has been absolutely amazing in showing their support.”
— Ayla Lerner
Lerner launched a FundRazr site titled “Please Help Miles Lerner’s Road to Recovery” to reach out and ask for the Northport-East Northport community’s support for her brother and her family in the aftermath of the accident.
“The media has reported that the driver who hit him is uninsured, which adds an element of financial strain,” she wrote on the website.
Miles was preparing to start his freshman year of high school Sept. 6. He was excited to be a member of Northport’s cross-country running team and Freshman Choir, according to Lerner.
“To give you a sense of his energy level, Miles participated in a three-week bike tour this past summer and biked 55 to 75 miles a day while carrying his belongings on the back of a bike,” she wrote.
After launching the website, she reached out to members of her brother’s cross-country team hoping given their connection to him, they would spread awareness of the cause and help her family. Word of her brother’s accident and her fundraising efforts has spread quickly and further than Lerner said she ever expected.
“I know all parents mock social media, but in this age, the Internet has allowed us to receive support from so many communities — we’ve received support from as far as Indonesia — they are treating us like family,” she said.
In addition to the donations, Lerner said her parents have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and well wishes they have been receiving. She said community members have brought her family food, offered to pack her lunch, and even reached out to offer her transportation to events like an upcoming ACT exam.
“I know that he doesn’t know it right now, isolated in his hospital room, but he is really being backed up by all the people he knows and loves.”
— Ayla Lerner
“We are incredibly gratified by the response,” she said.
Continued donations are most appreciated as the family anticipates medical bills for their son’s continued hospital care, according to Lerner. For those anxiously awaiting updates on Miles’ medical condition, the family will be hosting a table at the Northport Cow Harbor Day race Sept. 15 to share information with the community and sell navy bracelets bearing the slogan “Miles4Miles.”
“I know that he doesn’t know it right now, isolated in his hospital room, but he is really being backed up by all the people he knows and loves,” Lerner said.
Northport’s cross-country team will be participating in the Great Cow Harbor 10K race this year to show its support for Miles, according to Lerner, running the miles that he cannot.
His sister said the traumatic accident has changed her view on being an older sibling.
“Everyone has siblings, and sure, sometimes we annoy each other, but when you see your brother lying on a hospital bed in front of you, your perspective changes,” Lerner said. “I want to do everything I can to help him. I miss him.”