Hector Avalos

Cyclist Hector Avalos (handout / December 18, 2013)

In less than 10 days, more than $10,000 was raised to help the family of cyclist Hector Avalos, who was hit and killed while riding his bike on his way home from work.

Friends and family set up a Give Forward online fundraiser on Dec. 8, two days after Avalos, 28, was killed when a van hit him in the 2500 block of West Ogden Avenue in Douglas Park.

Originally the goal was to raise $6,000, and donors reached that goal in less than 48 hours, said friend Vanessa Bly, who attended Jones College Prep with Avalos. The goal was then increased to $10,000 to help pay for funeral expenses. By Monday, the last day of the fundraiser, they reached that goal.

"We never thought we would get $1,000. We thought that was a reach. To be able to say we reached over $10,000, it's unbelievable," Bly said.

"It made us want to cry to see so many people were helping our friend and they didn't even know him."

His mother appreciates the outpouring of support, she said. Avalos also has two siblings.

Bly first met Avalos as a freshman in high school where he played baseball and she was the team score keeper. They soon realized they lived near each other and became friends.

Avalos, an avid cyclist, enlisted in the Marines after high school and recently started a job working at a restaurant, she said.

"He inspired us to always live life like there's no tomorrow and live how you want to live and do what you want to do," Bly said.

His friends are hosting an event after the last Critical Mass bike ride of the year on Dec. 27 to honor Avalos and raise awareness of bike safety. The event, which asks for a $5 donation, will be held at Junior's Sports Bar at 2058 W. Cermak Rd.

The Tribune reported that the driver Robert Vais, 54, a Cook County hospital employee, was ordered held in lieu of $400,000 bail on Dec. 8. He now faces a charge of felony aggravated DUI.

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