BY MARYAM SHAH
TORONTO – Loved ones of a Canadian girl who died Christmas Eve after falling ill on a transatlantic flight have called her “the light of our lives.”
“We will never be the same without her,” said a statement on a GoFundMe page that has raised more than $27,000 for the little girl’s funeral expenses.
A photo posted with a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds for the return and burial of a 10-year-old Canadian girl identified as Madra, who died Christmas Eve after falling ill on a Toronto-to-London Air Canada flight.
The crowdfunding campaign was launched just days after the girl — identified on the GoFundMe page as “Madra” — had an medical emergency on an Air Canada flight travelling from Toronto to London.
The plane was then diverted to Shannon, Ireland.
“On Christmas Eve, my three sisters and I left Toronto to spend Christmas with our extended family in Nigeria,” a message on the GoFundMe page said. “Our mom flew ahead of us. Our beautiful youngest sister Madra (10) was with us. She took ill on the plane and despite the efforts of some kind medics on board, they could not save her.”
The page goes on to say the family has been in Ireland since the death, “waiting to take our dear sister back to Canada.”
“Our family is a single parent family of four children so we do not have the funds to have a proper burial for our beloved Madra,” the message read.
With donations from almost 500 people, the campaign has surpassed its $15,000 fundraising goal.
The Irish Independent newspaper reported Dec. 28 that a statement from the family on the page claimed the young girl suffered from “a type of anemia called sickle cell anemia” and that any additional funds raised will be donated to a clinic she attended.
Air Canada has said a doctor and a nurse on board the aircraft helped the flight crew and the child. The Boeing 787 was met by emergency crews in Ireland, where local authorities pronounced the girl dead.
Global Affairs confirmed on Wednesday that the girl was a Canadian citizen. They said officials have reached out to the family and are providing consular assistance.
— With files from The Canadian Press