Last weekend, Skylab, which featured headliner Tiesto, brought some 10,000 people to the Denver Coliseum. Among those were approximately 150 members of the online rave community Colorado EDM Family. A few of the "EDM Fam," as they call themselves, saw a young girl fall to the ground outside the venue on Saturday night before on-site paramedics rushed her to a hospital.
That girl, Bianca, is still in the hospital. According to a Facebook post by her father, Keith Roehm, the drug molly put her there. Her kidneys are failing, and she's only able to sit up or communicate in brief moments. In the post, he writes, "I could seriously use some help right now."
The post has been shared some 36,000 times as of Friday morning. One of the organizers of the EDM Fam, Richard Borus, saw it on Monday. "The story really hit home and I really just wanted to help the family," says Borus. "I wanted to show him [Keith] that the rave community can pull together and do something positive." He's never met Bianca or her father, but the next day he launched a crowd funding campaign to help with medical bills and "anything their family needs."
The campaign has raised over $1,500 since Tuesday, with donors giving everything from $5 to $500 and leaving messages like, "My heart goes out to your family. keep u all in my prayers. I dont have much to give but its important that i give something." Roehm himself even pitched in, telling Borus he wanted to show his support for the effort.
Borus is now twenty-eight, but he's been raving since he was about sixteen. He says he was heavy into the ecstasy scene for many years until he was about nineteen and realized the drug was negatively affecting his life. He explains that he has found the rave scene to be full of acceptance, love and hope. The Colorado EDM Family doesn't just go to concerts together. Last night, the group roasted marshmallows over a fire pit. "It's not all about the shows," says Borus. "It's about friendship. too.
"The kids who didn't fit in in high school can turn to an alternative and just let go, dance like an idiot for five hours," says Borus, "and there is someone next to you dancing like the same way, and no on is judging you."
On the next page: Why Borus and the EDM Fam set up the crown funding campaign.
He's always felt like he could get help in the rave community if he needed it, and that extends to everyone around him, including people like Bianca. Before launching the GoFundMe page, he sent a message to Roehm, explaining his history in the scene and outlook on it. "I wanted to make myself look like a real person to him, rather a faceless raver. I told him, 'If you need anything, have any concerns, anyone to bring lunch or anything, we will be there for you. We will support you.'"
Roehm was understandably critical of rave culture in his initial Facebook post (though he has clarified his stance since then in a video) and the drug culture that undeniably accompanies some parts of it.
Still, says Borus, "there's a bigger picture in the raving scene, and everyone isn't about going and doing drugs. Most of all, there's always someone there to help a fellow raver."
Borus is going to visit Bianca at the hospital next week, and hopes she can connect a face to the campaign. She has made tremendous progress since Wednesday, and is off life support. She has whispered a few words, according to Roehm, and the recovery process has begun.
Borus encourages people to share the GoFundMe page even if they cannot donate. He says the emotional support is in many ways just as important as financial. "It's not every day that we have a negative incident like this here at Colorado shows," he says. "They are few and far between. We are just looking to help in any way we can."
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