Fundraising campaign raises more than $452K for disabled mugging victim

A screenshot of the GoFundMe fundraising page for Alan Barnes, created by beautician Katie Cutler.

Story highlights

  • A disabled pensioner from the north east of England was mugged and left with a broken collar bone
  • After reading his story on a British website, beautician Katie Cutler organized an online fundraising page to fund his new home
  • Donations have surpassed £300K ($452K) and are growing, as well as offers to fit a kitchen and decorate his home

(CNN)Online solidarity strikes again.

A fundraising campaign to support a disabled pensioner who was a victim of a mugging attack has raised more than £300,000 ($452,000) towards a new home.
    An assailant shoved Alan Barnes, 67 -- who is just four feet six inches tall and partially blind -- to the ground and demanded he hand over his money in Gateshead, a town in the north east of England. Barnes suffered a broken collar bone, but his attacker left empty handed.
    Beautician Katie Cutler read about the attack on a British newspaper website and created a fundraising page via the GoFundMe website. She says that Alan is too scared to return home and she would like to raise £500 to help towards a new house.
    "After reading his article on the Mirror.co.uk I was so upset that anyone could target a disabled pensioner & be so cruel," she says on the page.
    "We can't take away what has happened but with a little donation we can make the future a prettier one & help towards the cost of his new home. Thank you all."
    A staggering £302,000 ($455,000) later -- and growing -- Cutler took to Twitter to express her gratitude towards the generosity of the online community.
    The donations were not just monetary either -- Cutler says a man has offered to fit a new kitchen for Barnes; another has pledged to decorate his new home. Northumbria Police are still searching for the attacker and appealing for further information.
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    Detective Constable Chris Neil said: "This was a cowardly assault on a vulnerable man who wasn't able to defend himself. His disability means he is partially sighted and quite short and it's disgraceful that someone would target him."
    But the outpouring of support has left many with a restored faith in humanity, and the fundraising continues:
    Other hugely successful crowd-funding campaigns include over $5.4 million raised by Stephen Sutton, a teenager with incurable cancer who eventually passed away. Sutton gave the money to the Teenage Cancer Trust -- the charity that supported him through his illness.