Deloraine gunshot victim supporters defend gofundme campaign

A fundraising page for 11-year-old gunshot victim Phoenix Newitt has received backlash from the public. Picture: Gofundme
A fundraising page for 11-year-old gunshot victim Phoenix Newitt has received backlash from the public. Picture: Gofundme

Supporters of an 11-year-old gunshot victim have come to her family’s defence after a fundraising campaign for the young girl was met with backlash.

Phoenix Newitt was in a car with her mother, uncle and four-year-old cousin when a man allegedly walked up to the vehicle and fired a gun on Tuesday night.

She was rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne in a critical condition after bullet fragments entered her heart. Now in a stable condition, Phoenix continues to recover in hospital.

Back home in Tasmania a gofundme page set up to raise money for her and her family has caused mixed reactions.

More than $1100 has been raised so far with the page’s goal set at $20,000.

Questions about how the funds will be used have been asked by potential donators. 

“Why do you need money? All her health care will be covered by the public health system,” Stacie Bennett White said on the page.

“As horrible as this situation is for everyone involved there are scammers everywhere. Without the person that created the account allowing us some credibility and stating how the $20k (sic) goal is justified it's difficult to determine if this is a legitimate request or not,” another user added.

The creator of the page Suzie Haydon was quick to respond to what she described as “negative” and “nasty comments”.

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“I set this page up because it was suggested to me by the mother of one of the students in Phoenix 's class at school. We discussed ways to help as mothers what we would need,” she said.

“The conclusion was reached that as they are a low income, single parent family, that financial assistance may help on her road to recovery.”

Family friend Kylie Dare also came to the Newitt’s defence.

“I think people need to back off and leave this family alone they are going through enough as it is … they did not ask for a gofundme page to be set up, it was set up by someone else,” she said.

“Phoenix is beautiful, loving caring little girl who everyone loves and adores heaps. She has a heart of gold, her beautiful mother is doing a great job raising her to be the beautiful young girl she is today.”

Phoenix’s mother, Sarah Newitt, thanked those who had donated so far.

Sarah Newitt has thanked people who have donated to a fundraising page for her daughter, Phoenix, who is recovering after being shot in the face on Tuesday night. Picture: Facebook

Sarah Newitt has thanked people who have donated to a fundraising page for her daughter, Phoenix, who is recovering after being shot in the face on Tuesday night. Picture: Facebook

“I can’t begin to express my appreciation,” she wrote. 

“Thank you all, so much.”

Ms Newitt remains at the children’s hospital in Melbourne with Phoenix.

Deloraine man Nathan Richard Campbell is due to appear in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon, charged with causing grievous bodily harm and recklessly discharging a firearm. 

This story Community questions fundraiser first appeared on The Examiner.