Family disgusted by donation scam

By Rebecca Ryan

Doctors told Daniel Milliken's family he wouldn't survive once he was taken off the ventilator, but he defied the odds and is now making good progress, his godmother says. Photo / https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/danielmilliken/
Doctors told Daniel Milliken's family he wouldn't survive once he was taken off the ventilator, but he defied the odds and is now making good progress, his godmother says. Photo / https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/danielmilliken/

The theft of donations for the family of an Oamaru toddler who was critically injured when a TV fell on him has left them and their friends heartbroken and disgusted.

On December 8, 17-month-old Daniel Milliken suffered critical brain injuries in his Oamaru home.

He was airlifted to Dunedin Hospital and then transferred to the Starship children's hospital in Auckland.

Daniel's family were prepared for the worst, after doctors told them he was unlikely to survive once his ventilator was switched off.

But he defied the odds.

"Each and every day, his family are so thankful to have him with them,'' said Daniel's godmother, Sandy Annan.

A Facebook page scam - "Donations for Baby Daniel'' - was set up on December 10, two days after the accident.

"The family found out on the 17th that a lady had given $200 and they had never heard anything about it,'' Ms Annan said.

The stories kept coming. "Another guy in Napier had donated $50,'' she said.

The family were "disgusted'' by the deceit of the person who set up the page and had no idea how much had been taken from unsuspecting donors.

The deception was made even more painful by the woman's association with the family, Ms Annan said.

"Their friendship goes back years. They were totally heartbroken that someone could have done something to them like that.

"The thing that disgusts me about the [scam] is that we all went to Auckland to say our goodbyes ... and she's probably there on the same day on her donations page collecting money.''

Police are investigating.

Ms Annan has since set up a legitimate Give A Little Page. More than $7500 had been given by this morning. "It's really good. It's what they need."

She said Daniel was making good progress with his recovery and had gone into the Wilson Centre, a child rehabilitation centre in Takapuna, Auckland.

"He could be there from three weeks to three months, but lately he's been moving his neck, and the other day Diane [Daniel's mother] put a toy on his bed and he leaned forward and started playing with it,'' Ms Annan said.

"He's never going to be the same again, but hopefully he will be ... The main thing is that he's still here with us.''

Ms Annan is looking forward to having the family and her "little possum'' Daniel home in North Otago again soon.

Donations to Daniel's family can be made at: givealittle.co.nz/cause/danielmilliken

- Otago Daily Times

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