The parents of a young boy in dire need of surgery say they have been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received for their GoFundMe account, which they set up in the wake of embattled Wallaby Israel Folau asking the public to chip in for his legal fees.
After the millionaire sports star asked the public to help fund the ‘fight of his life’, Bryce Wilton set up the GoFundMe for his son, who lives with a half-function brain and will soon undergo risky surgery to save his life.
Mikey ‘Danger’ Wilton has a rare condition – Hemiconvulsion-hemiplegia-epilepsy. He’s lost half of his vision, the function of the right side of his body, and he suffers from severe seizures.
Mr Wilton decided to ask for the same amount to help his seven-year-old son, as an experiment and to prove a point.
When The New Daily spoke to Mr Wilton on Monday the young boy’s fundraising page had been open for 48 hours and received just $30.
Last week his family found out that – for the fourth time in his seven years – the little boy would need to undergo risky surgery to save his life.
“If he doesn’t have this surgery, he will die young,” Mr Wilton said,
“But the surgery could cause further damage. He could lose his speech, and that’s a thing we need to deal with.
“The alternative is not to do the surgery and he might die earlier.”
Now, they’ve hit over $2000 and Mikey’s mother, Kelly, said the support they’ve received has “restored our faith that people do care”.
“The compassion has been overwhelming. The support we’ve been given, people are saying we stand with you,” she said.
“The beautiful thing is, they’re donating to our family, but it means they’re recognising all families that battle daily.”
Mrs Wilton, who works for a magazine that focuses on children who live disability, Source Kids, said they will be sharing the money with other families and the Hemispherectomy Foundation Australia, who have helped them on their journey.
“We want to share it. It goes so much further when we support each other, and stand together and we can help more people in the long run,” she said.
“When you bring everyone together for the greater good, you help more people in the process. We know this from history.
“Exclusion can’t work, we need to start including everyone, it’s as simple as that. Pardon the pun, but it is a no-brainer.”
Setting up the GoFundMe wasn’t about disagreeing with Folau’s beliefs, although the family stresses they are very supportive of the LGBTI community, it was highlighting what Mrs Wilton sees as his hypocrisy.
“We all live in Australia, we agree you can have opinions but the way he’s gone about it, he comes from such a place of privilege, when there real families struggling out there who have kids fighting for their lives,” she said.
“I think that’s what resonated. He’s got money, he’s got good health, he can pay for his own legal costs and we’ve got Mikey who is facing a serious battle.”