It was sudden, and now five Antioch students are without their mother.

Kari Galvan Lopez passed away from health complications in late January, but her family continues to raise money to pay for funeral and other expenses.

The Lopez children range from grades second, fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth, and attend Lone Tree Elementary, Park Middle and Antioch High schools.

"Mrs. Lopez was a dedicated mother who frequently visited Park to support her children," said Crystal Berry, Park vice principal.

"She frequently expressed how she wanted all of her children to do well in school and life. She often sought advice from administration, the school's psychologist, counselor and teachers on how to meet that goal. She was also a 'mother hen' to many of her children's friends, who frequently got rides home and hung out at the Lopez house."

In an effort to help the Lopez family, Berry spearheaded a donation drive among Park staff, raising more than $700 to "assist the family with funeral arrangements and rent."

Lopez's sister, Jacqui Buscemi, has also set up an online donation site, http://www.gofundme.com/6lz734, where she posted the following message: "My sister Kari Lopez passed away ... as her five children were trying to save her life. Although she was a breast cancer survivor, she had her share of sicknesses. She was on S.S.I. as income and received food stamps. (Now) the family is left with no income. Kari's husband is from Mexico, and in true fashion working nonstop to make ends meet."

The site has generated about $735. Buscemi is trying to raise $2,000.

"My heart goes out to Mr. Lopez and the children. It's an unfortunate situation and assisting the family in any way that I can is the least that I can do," Berry said. "So many times families are remembered at the time of the initial loss, but the pain of the loss and hardships continue far longer. I want them to know we care and are still here to support them."

Call 925-779-7420, ext. 10094.

Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net.