EDISON – The Edison High School Eagle community and beyond have soared for two of their own.
Melissa Keyes Ferro has been leading the charge to raise funds for the Anderberg brothers – Brandon, who is graduating from Edison High School on June 16, Connor, a junior at Edison High, and Robert. The brothers lost their mother, Barbara Blauth, a week after Brandon’s 18th birthday in November due to a sickness. The boys’ father Thomas had passed when Brandon was five years old.
Ferro said her son, Joseph, grew up with Brandon from Lincoln Elementary School and on.
“Back in November, my son told me Brandon’s mom was terminally sick,” she recalled. “We felt terrible. [Joseph] had asked me if we could throw Brandon a party for his birthday at the house so we got some gifts, cake and pizza. Less than a week his mom passed.”
Since then Ferro said they have been making sure the boys have food and they are on track with their school work.
“As time went on, it became more apparent they needed help with the house,” she said, explaining they were $25,000 behind in taxes and $125,000 behind in the house mortgage. “Brandon just had the weight of the world on him with losing his mom, the pandemic and worries of separating from his brothers and losing the house … it was a lot.”
The parents of students in the Class of 2020 in Edison had began an Adopt a Senior social media page due to the novel coronavirus pandemic where people could adopt a senior and send gifts.
“About a month ago I had put something little about Brandon how he lost his mom,” Ferro said. “Instantly people asked what they could do. It’s been amazing how many people have been in touch. We had raised $26,000, which went towards the taxes. So it was on to the mortgage.”
On May 28, Ferro created a GoFundMe page – “Be a Hero, Please help orphaned Edison boys.”
“As a family friend, I have organized this fundraiser for Brandon and his brothers because this financial burden seems like a huge mountain for an 18-year-old to move,” she wrote.
Ferro set a fundraising goal of $150,000 – $125,000 would go towards the mortgage and an additional $25,000 would go towards easing the burden of living expenses, property taxes as well as covering costs associated with Brandon’s education at Middlesex County College where he plans to pursue a career in law enforcement.
The story hit media outlets two weeks ago.
“Within that week [when Brandon’s story was published in a local newspaper] we had raised more than $100,000,” she said. “We wanted to make sure they were able to stay in the house and they are able to. Now there are much needed repairs for the house.”
As of June 15, the site has raised $207,721 for the family.
Ferro said Edison High School Principal Charles Ross has been wonderful, making sure the boys have food and checking in on them.
Ross said he has always known he was lucky to serve as the principal of Edison High School, but the depth of assistance for Brandon and his family has let him know just how great Edison Township is.
“Edison respects education so much, but even more has a big heart and never lets anyone fall,” he said. “Whether it was the baseball team raising almost $1,000, our teachers raising almost $5,000, or the work that has gone on behind the scenes before the GoFundMe [page] took off, I have been amazed how in a time of great economic uncertainty, the Edison and Middlesex County community has reached so deep to help. Brandon and his brothers have endured more than most before and during the pandemic and the fact that they will have a stable home from which to build their futures is a testament to this wonderful community.”
For more information and to donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/orphaned-edison-boys.