Thousands raised to help Mill Rat player in Mali
Modibo Diarra flew to Mali in March after a military coup
People in the Saint John area have raised $9,000 to help a basketball star who is stranded in Mali, and they're not done yet.
Modibo Diarra, a player on the Saint John Mill Rats, flew to his native country in March to be with his family. Mali's president was overthrown in a military coup. Diarra said he won't leave the country unless his wife and daughter come with him.
It's a stark contrast from Diarra's life in New Brunswick, where he is a star forward on the Mill Rats. Diarra has been using his pay from the team to support 22 family members in Mali.
Since his departure, the community has rallied behind Diarra to bring him back to Canada.
Restaurants, businesses and individuals in the Saint John area have been collecting donations and hosting fundraising events.
Mill Rats owner David Cooper said about $9,000 has been raised so far, with more events to come.
A multicultural dinner is planned for Sunday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Rothesay. Diarra hopes to make a special appearance via Skype during the event.
Their goal is to raise $15,000 to bring Diarra back.