The Edison High School community is stepping up to help a student fight for his life after an accident.
Nicky Macchiavello, a 17-year-old junior at the high school in Huntington Beach, was riding a motorcycle at a motocross track in Riverside on Jan. 10 when he crashed and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The varsity soccer player was put in a medically induced coma.
"He's a great guy and he wouldn't want us sitting around dwelling," said Austin Youngerman, a senior. "He would want us to be doing something."
Students, teammates and Edison High staff gathered with others Jan. 24 for a fundraising car wash to help pay Nicky's medical expenses.
Garen Balikciglu, 16, a soccer teammate, provided space for the car wash for three hours at his family's Mobil gas station at Beach Boulevard and Adams Avenue. He also has been selling bracelets and T-shirts to benefit his friend.
"He's one of those guys where everybody likes him and no one has anything bad to say about him," Garen said.
"He comes from a very warm family," said Garen's mother, Nora.
High school students wearing T-shirts reading "Vamos Nicky Mac," meaning "Let's go, Nicky," waved posters to attract passers-by to the gas station. Others picked up sponges and splashed water and soap onto a line of cars.
Marlene Sullivan of Huntington Beach was driving by and said she was happy to support the group's efforts.
Others who didn't need a car wash donated cash. One anonymous donor gave $100.
"He's very well-loved by staff and students," J.P. D'Brot, who teaches Spanish and coaches soccer at Edison High, said of Nicky. "We're just rallying for him, and it's great that the community is out here. I think it's awesome that students started this fundraiser."
Ashley Bezzina, who has known Nicky for six years, created a page on GoFund Me, a crowdfunding website, with a goal of collecting $10,000. On Wednesday morning, the page showed $7,440 donated by by 53 people in 21 days.
"He's a really good person," Bezzina said. "He finds the good in everybody, and it's horrible that this happened. But we're here to help him."
Family friend Jamie Wood said this week that the car wash fundraiser raised more than $2,000. She said Nicky had not come out of the coma but was steadily improving.
In a Jan. 29 message on the GoFundMe page, gofundme.com/k5bjq8, Nicky's family wrote: "He is very strong and he is fighting. We are so touched and overwhelmed by all the support, prayers and good positive thoughts we've [received]. A very special thanks to all of Nicky's friends, teammates, classmates and coaches. These guys are working nonstop, constantly doing things to support Nicky and our family. We are amazed at how strongly these kids can love and give and care."
Another fundraiser was held Saturday at Zov's restaurant in Anaheim, and others are scheduled for 8 to 11 p.m. Feb. 13 at Get Air Trampoline Park, 5142 Argosy Ave., Huntington Beach, and 4 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Stonefire Grill, 18727 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley.