CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - The family of David Woolman was devastated when he died at age 23 while working as an English teacher in China. Then they faced another horrifying prospect: They were told the Chinese government might dispose of the body if the
family couldn't ship it home quickly.
But thanks to an international outpouring of support, Woolman's family has collected enough money to bring their nephew back to the U.S.
"The response has been phenomenal," Kristy Garcia, Woolman's aunt, told the Nevada Appeal in an article published Friday. "People have been so amazing, not just in the U.S., but in the U.K. and China, too."
Woolman lived in Carson City on and off before moving to China last year to teach. Family members were still unclear about the circumstances of his March 1 death but were told he fell from a roof.
The newspaper previously reported that the family had a week to raise nearly $13,000. The story spread through social media networks and appeared elsewhere online, even in a blog in Shanghai.
In the days that followed, people in Carson City and around the globe rushed to their aid with donations. FitzHenry's Carson Valley Funeral Home donated a casket, and American Airlines Trust Cargo offered to ship the body for half-price.
Garcia said U.S. Sen. Dean Heller's office "has been jumping through hoops" to help the family, while representatives in China from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints helped coordinate the process across the ocean.
The body is now expected to be returned to the U.S. within two weeks. Garcia said the family plans to donate any leftover money to charity.
Despite facing numerous obstacles since Woolman's death - such
as navigating the language barrier with his employer in China - family members said they're encouraged by the generosity of strangers.
"My sister said even in death, David has taught her one final lesson," Garcia said. "He restored her faith in humanity."