British couple, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have crowdfunded over £1.2million to help their sick seven-month-old son, Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome – a condition which is typically fatal in infancy.
The parents started a GoFundMe page on January 30 to help send baby Charlie to America for an experimental new treatment for his condition – and they hit their target over the weekend with only 24 hours to spare.
On their fundraising page, they wrote, “If we don’t raise enough money then we won’t be able to go to America for treatment and Charlie will die!”
In the last two days of the campaign, strangers donated more than £500,000, reports the Daily Mail UK.
The largest donation, £40,000, came from 45-year-old British housewife Helen Barnes and her husband, Steve, who have two children.
The Barnes family, who are “not wealthy,” decided to make the donation from their savings after being moved to tears by Charlie’s story.
“As a mother, you will do anything you can for your child and I just wanted to help them,” Mrs Barnes said.
Charlie’s parents have been overwhelmed by the support from complete strangers, saying, “Words cannot express how grateful we are to everyone who has donated. It seemed an impossible amount to raise so we are stunned, shocked and thrilled that we have actually managed to achieve it.”
With enough money to fund the trip and treatment, the couple now has to make their case in front of the High Court in London who will decide what option is in Charlie’s best interest.
Charlie is currently being kept alive in intensive care in London, but they hospital says it has exhausted all treatment options.
Doctors have said it would be kinder to allow Charlie to die because there is no accepted cure for his disease.
In an interview with the BBC, Yates and Gard hit back at the claim their son was in pain. “If we were sitting there thinking he is in pain, we would have let him go a long time ago. He’s our boy and we love him. We’re doing all this for Charlie,” his father said.
The couple is desperate to give their son a chance, saying, “We just CAN’T let out baby die when there is something that might help him! We won’t give up on him because he has a rare disease. He deserves a chance and he deserves a life as much as anyone.”
Charlie’s case will be heard on April 3 in London.
This article first published on Marie Claire.