Shock as big pledge for Kandice is withdrawn
An online campaign to cover urgent medical tests for a sick teen was dealt a crushing blow after a pledge worth more than $9,000 from its top contributor was abruptly withdrawn.
But last night, the push to help 14-year-old Kandice Young was almost one third of the way towards its goal of $10,000 — with the Bermuda Government also able to chip in.
David Burt said that the Government’s own frequent flyer account could be used to help with airline tickets for family members required to travel to support Kandice.
The Premier said he had been “humbled to be able to help a family in need” after a constituent approached him.
Mr Burt said that a provision added to financial instructions, made during his time as junior finance minister, allowed for government travel to be booked under a single corporate frequent flyer code.
Mr Burt said it had been renewed in the Progressive Labour Party’s 2017 election platform so that benefits could “assist students who are recipients of training awards with the costs of their travel and to help other citizens in need”.
He added: “Our plan is to use these tickets for medical hardships so the Government can support those travelling overseas for medical treatment.”
Kandice was highlighted this week by The Royal Gazette after complications to her congenital heart condition put pressure on her cash-strapped mother to get her to the Children’s Hospital in Boston for a battery of tests, and possible surgery.
But an anonymous windfall of $9,400 vanished from the family’s online GoFundMe page on Wednesday night.
Kandice’s mother, Derika Young, said she had been “heartbroken” at the news.
She said: “But at the same time, I’m telling everybody not to be too upset — we don’t know what happened. It could have been an honest mistake. It still hurts and it’s more stress. We just have to push a little bit harder.”
Ms Young added: “Kandice is OK. She fluctuates. It was just the adults that were upset.”
She thanked the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute for giving Kandice a special honour at last night’s showing of the film We the People.
“Kandice will get to see some of the actors and sell some of her loom bands to help raise money,” Ms Young said. “We’re very appreciative.”
Danielle Riviere, the executive director of the Centre on Philanthropy, said that residents were turning to online sites such as GoFundMe “more and more” in emergency situations. Ms Riviere reminded the public to obtain temporary fundraising licences, even when using web platforms, adding that it was “not hard to do and we would be happy to help people figure it out”.
She added: “If we had a local system like GoFundMe, that would be great. For banking regulatory reasons, we have not been able to figure that out.”
Despite the setback, Kandice’s campaign had raised $3,225 as of 7.30pm yesterday.