Family runs into issues collecting money from GoFundMe

- A family in Brainerd ran into quite the obstacle as they tried to help a loved one by fundraising on GoFundMe.

To Katie Johnson, her big brother Eric is more than a sibling.

“Eric has been like my father; my father died when I was young, and I couldn't imagine my life without him. I live just around the corner from him because I can't be far away,” said Katie.

When she found out in April that doctors had to amputate Eric's remaining leg, after he lost his left leg to an infection just two years ago, she launched a GoFundMe account to help Eric and his wife Kara stay afloat.

“My whole life I've been a mechanic and a tire guy, my whole life. That's not going to happen again,” said Eric.

Over the course of a month, $750 was raised. But, the page was shut down. According to Katie, a glitch in GoFundMe's system mistakenly listed her best friend, Traci Fentress, as the campaign organizer.

“GoFundMe said, ‘We don't understand why our system keeps kicking you out,’” she said.

Katie says she has exchanged about 400 emails with GoFundMe "because they refused to contact me by phone,” she said.

She said she, her friend, and countless representatives have tried to address the mix-up.

“I've demanded the money, I've asked nicely for the money, no one now will even respond to my emails anymore,” she said.

A few hours after Fox 9 reached out to the crowdfunding group, they issued a statement with a guarantee that the money raised will go to Eric and Kara. They also said that they're working with all parties to get the money to them as quickly as possible.

“$750 could've went towards part of Eric's prosthetic leg, or medications. Like I said, the ramp, just getting in and out of the house, is hard,” said Katie.

Without the donations, Katie borrowed money from family to have a basic ramp built outside of Eric's front door. Even though it sounds like Katie's gone through a lot of trouble over the small sum, she says the fight was worth it.

“Even when it's a little bit of money, it can help,” said Katie.

The family will be hosting a spaghetti dinner benefit and silent auction for Eric and his wife on October 7 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the St. Mathias Park Buildings on 4548 County Road 121 in Fort Ripley, Minn.

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