Phelicity, who has spent most of her 13 years in a hospital gown, has a congenital heart condition and for the past two months has been in intensive care in Ohio, with mum Veronica barely leaving her side.
After a life-saving operation there proved unsuccessful, all Phelicity wanted to do was come home to die, her Ballina-based dad Ben told Fairfax Media.
But already “mortgaged to the hilt”, Ben admits the $212,000 the family needed for a special medical flight was simply beyond them.
In a last-ditch attempt to make Phelicity’s dream come true they turned to the crowd-funding site gofundme – and the total just keeps on climbing.
“Phelicity and her family are so VERY grateful for everyone’s amazing support,” writes eldest sister Mahalia, 15, as the reserves race past the $300,000 mark thanks to more than 3700 worldwide donations.
“Mum met with her doctors today and they are working on coordinating the flight home and adjusting her medications to get her stable enough to tolerate the flight.
“Unfortunately since she is critically ill, this won’t happen overnight. But IT WILL HAPPEN now and soon, all because of you.
“Every dollar raised will go towards any past or future expenses acquired for caring for Phelicity. We will never be able to say Thank You enough!”
Phelicity has undergone multiple operations for her heart defect and related condition that depletes her stocks of protein.
But when she closes her eyes, her thoughts travel from her hospital bed in Ohio to a scene half way around the world, says Ben, who reluctantly returned home to work so he could pay the bills.
She pictures herself sitting around the family kitchen table, or playing in her backyard swimming pool with her sisters Mahalia, Arabella, 10, and Elizabeth, 6.
It’s her happy place, the one spot where all her life-threatening medical issues suddenly don’t seem to resonate so menacingly for the brave girl with the flaming orange hair and wide smile.
“She wants to swim in the pool with her sisters and have a meal with her family and friends,” Ben tells Fairfax.
“She says ‘I want to go home. I don’t want to be in hospital.’
“She knows she is probably coming home to die. For you and I, home is where we go every day. For someone like Phelicity, it is a special treat.
“As a kid who has spent most of her life in hospitals, home is a special place.”