With a network of friends who thought the world of him and the drive to match, there was every reason to believe Gerson Bello would live a long, rich and full life.
Instead, the 23-year-old's funeral will be held this weekend, following his very sudden and tragic death from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Due to the most unexpected nature of his passing, his family is asking the public for help covering the funeral expenses through a GoFundMe page set up on their behalf.
The effort is seeking $7,000 for the Bello family, and as of this writing, has raised $950 of that goal.
"This ambitious young man was dedicated to his family, friends, and following Christ," the GoFundMe says. "Peers describe him as a role model and an overall good man. Gerson had a bright career and future ahead of him."
Bello died of CO poisoning on Sunday, Shauna Kaylene Wimmer Valdez, a friend of the family who set up the GoFundMe on Monday, tells Bring Me The News.
She says Gerson was warming his car in the garage of his family's apartment with the doors closed, and was somehow unable to open the garage from the inside — eventually succumbing to the toxic fumes emitting from the car.
A DREAMer born in Mexico City, Bello was a graduate of Irondale High School in New Brighton, where he lived at the time of his death. He had graduated from Metropolitan State University in December.
He was also well into a career in health care, having begun working as a patient access specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center in 2015, his GoFundMe says.
His funeral is scheduled for this Saturday.
About CO poisoning
More than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning (not linked to fires) every year, the CDC says. Another 20,000 visit the ER because of CO and over 4,000 end up hospitalized.
The gas is found in fumes produced when you burn fuel, from cars, trucks, generator engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges and furnaces. (You can read more about the symptoms here.)
CO poisoning is especially prevalent in the winter months, when use of heating appliances spikes dramatically.
Where garages are concerned, University of Iowa Health Care says you should "never leave (your car) running in the confined space of a garage"; instead, they recommend backing it outside if you want to let it warm up.
They also say you should never run lawnmowers, snowblowers, or other gas-powered engines in garages and other confined areas
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends installing CO alarms (and maintaining them afterwards) in all households.