Texas shooting: Families whose children survived turn to crowdfunding for therapy
- Survivors of the Uvalde massacre have described playing dead while their classmates and teachers were shot dead around them
- Fundraising pages have asked for money to pay for medical expenses and help dealing with mental trauma
Parents and relatives of children who survived the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, are turning to crowdfunding websites to afford therapy.
Insider found three GoFundMe pages set up on behalf of kids who were in the classroom the gunman attacked on Tuesday.
Nineteen children and two teachers were shot dead in the massacre.
Others were injured but survived, but those who were physically unharmed were also left traumatised from coming so close to death, and witnessing their friends and teachers killed in front of them.
Such appeals for private donations to deal with mass killings are common in the US. They came despite Texas Governor Greg Abbott pledging state support for the victims on Friday, including a mental-health phone line.
One GoFundMe page was set up for 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo by her mother.
Cerrillo told CNN how she covered herself in the blood of a slain classmate, playing dead to avoid the gunman’s attention.
She said her hair had been falling out in clumps since the ordeal, an apparent physical sign of her trauma.
On the fundraising page her mother, Abigail Veloz, asked for money to meet medical expenses from dealing with a bullet fragment in her daughter’s back, as well as to help with all the trauma that she is going through.
As of Sunday morning the appeal had raised more than US$400,000 from an original goal of US$10,000.
A second GoFundMe page was set up for ten-year-old Noah Orona by his older sister, Laure Holeck.
Orona told ABC News that he too played dead but was still shot in the back. He saw his teacher get shot dead, he said.
On Noah’s fundraising page, Holeck wrote that the money was for “physical and motor therapies, along with long-term cognitive care for the mental trauma of the shooting”. It had raised US$136,000 by early Sunday.
“Your donation will be gratefully used to help him recover from the mental trauma that has left our little guy with trying to comprehend not only his wounds, but witnessing the suffering of his friends, classmates, and his beloved teacher,” Holeck wrote.
A third fundraising page was organised for ten-year-old Samuel Salinas by his father Christopher Salinas.
Samuel Salinas, 10, told ABC News that he heard the gunman say: “You’re all going to die.” The fourth-grade student said that the shooter aimed at him but a chair blocked the bullet from hitting him.
In the aftermath of the massacre, he said he is having nightmares and no longer feels safe going to school.
The fundraising page did not go into specifics, but said Samuel was “in recovery” and that the money raised would “help Samuel get through this tragic time”. As of early Sunday it had attracted donations of around US$10,000.
The appeals were among 23 pages which GoFundMe verified as being from victims of the Uvalde shooting, which were raising funds both for those who survived the shooting and the families of those who were killed.
Insider’s Erin Snodgrass previously reported that children who survive school shootings experience a “fundamental rattling” of their sense of safety.