Teams continue to search for Bailey Meola and Sydney Schumacher, two Garfield High School graduates who were hiking together in Nepal when the earthquake hit.
Yellow and red ribbons are still tied around trees in Seattle’s Madison Park and Central District. The yellow represents hope; the red is the color of Nepal’s flag.
The ribbons are for Bailey Meola and Sydney Schumacher, two Garfield High School graduates who were trekking in the Langtang Valley in Nepal when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit two weeks ago. The women, both 19, haven’t been heard from since.
A crowdfunding site on Indiegogo, intended to raise money for locating and extracting Meola and Schumacher, has generated more than $47,000. The initial goal for the page, set up a few days after the devastating quake, was $500.
With the money from 639 donors, the Meola and Schumacher families were able to form a private expedition team to search in medical and makeshift camps throughout the Langtang Valley. Schumacher’s brothers arrived in Kathmandu a week ago and have been directly involved in the search-and-rescue efforts, according to the Indiegogo page, which the families update periodically.
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Over 100 people joined a vigil Friday evening at Madison Park Beach. As the sun set, they held candles labeled with the teens’ names and the word “hope.”
Diane Schumacher, Sydney’s mother, thanked the community for its support.
Chris Olson, Meola’s godfather, said the U.S. embassy in Nepal told the families that there is still hope they will be found alive.
“We continue to hold on to that hope,” Olson said.
The families believe the young women were between Rimche and Kyanjim Bompa on the popular Langtang trail when the earthquake struck. An anthropologist who lives and works in the region told the families that he believes Meola and Schumacher may have stayed in a village where there were many survivors.
Meola and Schumacher were traveling around the world after graduating from Garfield in 2014. The two met in Thailand in mid-April before flying to Kathmandu. Schumacher’s five-month journey began in January; she wrote on her travel blog of her plans to work on a farm in Hawaii after hiking in Nepal. Meola flew to Southeast Asia in February and planned to travel through Europe after the Langtang Valley trek.