THE sister of a teenager who raised more than £36,000 in a week to save her life says the family have been left ‘completely overwhelmed’ by strangers’ kindness - but has hit out at vicious trolls who have sent her death threats.
Chloe Barnfield, 26, from Thurnscoe, is the sister of 17-year-old Allesha Barnfield who this week went viral online and saw her fundraiser surpass its £30,000 target in a matter of days.
The teenager was diagnosed with a number of conditions including chiari malformation and tethered spinal cord syndrome - which has caused a tumour to form - after she first developed symptoms back in 2019.
Chiari malformation is a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal - this occurs when a part of the skull is either misshapen or smaller than usual, pressing on the brain and forcing it downward.
Allesha began campaigning to raise £30,000 so she could undergo lifesaving surgery in Barcelona to prevent the condition worsening, which can lead to paralysis or even ‘internal decapitation’.
After being posted online more than £36,000 was raised and Allesha, whose goal was once to go to university, said her ambition is now ‘just to be alive’.
Chloe told the Chronicle she’s done ‘nothing but worry’ since her diagnosis - but the family have now been left overwhelmed with the response.
“I can’t thank everybody who has donated or even shared the fundraiser enough for their support,” she added. We’re all so overwhelmed and we really didn’t expect this - we’re still processing everything.
“Allesha was personally thanking everyone who donated at first but I think that’s going to take quite a while now. She’s had donations from all across the world - America, Australia and Wales.
“This has changed her life completely and in turn has changed our lives. We’ve done nothing but worry but to see that light at the end of the tunnel for her has been amazing.”
Allesha has now booked in to have her surgery in Barcelona and rising fundraising costs mean she’ll be able to continue to have post-op appointments with the world-leading doctors.
However, since her appeal was sent out to thousands online, Chloe says her sister has been the target of vile abuse both online and even in person.
“She’s having to turn her phone off because all of the abuse is just getting to her,” she added.
“When the first death threats came through it was soul crushing.
“She’s the baby of five sisters and we’re all really protective over her.”
But Chloe and her sisters are doing everything they can to keep Allesha happy.
“We’re trying to keep everything in a positive light for her and to keep her spirits up,” she added.
“But the overwhelming amount of support has overshadowed all the hate she’s received.
“We’ve all had a little cry about it and I’ll probably continue to cry - she’s now been given a chance to live her dreams again.”