On January 25, Alan Barnes, a disabled 67-year-old man, was attacked and robbed outside his home in Gateshead, England.
Mr. Barnes, who is only four feet, six inches tall, was battered and knocked to the ground by a vicious thug and sustained a broken collar-bone. Mr. Barnes is visually impaired, and BBC News reports that he has lived with disabilities since birth after his mother contracted German Measles (rubella) whilst she was pregnant. The cowardly attack left Mr. Barnes too frightened to return to his home.
The Independent reports that 21-year-old Katie Cutler, who lives nearby, was so shocked by the news that she set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help him find a new home. Ms. Cutler set out to raise £500 [$750] to help Mr Barnes to locate to a new home. Amazingly, news of Mr. Barnes plight spread like wildfire, and kind-hearted people from across the world donated to the fund. In just three days, the fund has passed £200,000 ($300k).
There have already been 15,500 donations to the page and 22,000 social media shares, including 20,000 Facebook likes and just over 2,000 Tweets.
The Mirror reports that as a result, Mr. Barnes plans to use the money to buy a new home. Alan told BBC News it was “just unbelievable.”
Alan said, “I’m really grateful and a thank you doesn’t seem to be enough for how I feel. I’ve heard of people getting get well cards but not this.”
Alan says he first found out about the site when his sister Carol noticed it on Facebook.
“I found out about the site two days ago. I came downstairs and my sister asked me if I knew Katie. It just seemed to take off I couldn’t believe it.
“I’ve heard of fundraising for charities but I’ve only got a fractured collarbone, I didn’t expect that sort of response, thank you doesn’t really seem to answer it, does it?
“I just want to thank her in person. It’s hard to take in. I know people in the Sheriff Hill and Gateshead but not in other parts of the country. People as far as New Zealand have donated.”
Ms. Cutler, a beautician, told the Independent, “It doesn’t really feel real at the moment. I feel so overwhelmed, I have just been inundated with emails and messages — it hasn’t sunk in and I can’t believe how lovely people have been.”
Ms. Cutler has been commended by many of those who made donations.
Mary Williams said, “Well done Katie you are truly an inspiration to us all and put those low life scum to shame, bless you.”
Susan Sturdy said, “[T]his is truly amazing, thank you Katie for doing such a lovely thing and thanks to everyone that has donated also!”
Alan Barnes is currently being cared for by his sister as he remains too frightened to return to his home.
[images – BBC]