C/FO Co-Founder Mark Merlino’s GoFundMe Campaign Launched
On Wednesday, a fundraising initiative was initiated on GoFundMe on behalf of Mark Merlino, co-founder of Cartoon/Fantasy Organization, to support the expenses of his end-of-life care.
The origin reason for the initiation of the GoFundMe page was Merlino’s mounting hospital dues following his admittance to the hospital on December 23 due to three micro strokes. However, the campaign’s status was revised on Friday to inform donors that Merlino had been diagnosed with terminal stage IV liver cancer, making hospice care arrangements necessary. Family and friends rallied together to set this up. As of the moment of reporting, the campaign has ammassed a total of US$39,983 in donations.
Merlino is recognized for being one of the pioneering individuals who set up the first anime club in North America, named the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization (C/FO). In a blog post in April 2020, Merlino himself detailed the historical development of the organization.
In 1977, Merlino, in partnership with renowned anime historian Fred Patten, launched the organization in Los Angeles. The organization expanded and gave rise to additional chapters all over the United States. Patten passed away in November 2018.
Besides his instrumental role in the creation of the C/FO, Merlino has also made significant contributions to the Furry fandom community. He has been integral in organizing the annual ConFurence event.