OLATHE, Kan. — Emotional and financial support continues to pour in for victims of last weeks shooting at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe.
Combined fundraising efforts for the three victims topped the $1 million mark over the weekend, and now stands at $1.25 million. GoFundMe says it’s just the 8th time that’s happened in the website’s history and the sixth-most donations ever collected.
“We are truly overwhelmed by the support we got during this difficult time,” shooting victim Alok Madasani said.
But both he and fellow survivor Ian Grillot are also thankful for the inspiring messages that come with those donations.
“It’s hard sometimes closing my eyes, but one thing that is wonderful to me is when I get online and I see all this support and the different walks of lives coming together and forming a bond, that wouldn’t have happened normally,” Grillot said in an interview in his hospital room provided by University of Kansas Health Systems.
Kavipriya Muthuramalingam, a former co-worker now living in California started the campaign to help get Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s body back to India and to support his widow.
“Maybe some little bit of money would help her with the future the uncertainties medical help, or any psychological help,” Muthuramalingam said.
She set what seemed like an unattainable goal of $100,000, but within hours she had to up it to $150,000. That was quickly passed as well. By Monday night that page alone had raised more than $675,000.
“It’s been a platform for sharing all the sentiments to show the support which is what is really needed right now and for the future.”
The site is also allowing victims and their families to share updates with concerned supporters. On Monday, Ian Grillot’s sister Maggie posted:
“Thank you for your outpouring support. We are beyond thankful for your kind words and well wishes for Ian. Ian is recouping but still has a long road ahead. Ian made his living working with his hands. That is now gone and we still don’t know if full use of his hand will return. Ian has a long road ahead of rehabilitation, possible additional surgeries, creating a new way of living and providing for himself, not to mention the emotional damage this tragedy has created.
At this point- my mother and I will maintain control of Ian’s funding to lessen his stress. His fund will be withdrawn by myself and passed over to him when he is more stable.”
Though Muthuramalingam can’t be with friends in Kansas, she’s happy to have played a small part in helping them and grieving loved ones worldwide heal.
“It is just the greatest tragedy that this should happen to this wonderful person,” Muthuramalingam said
She says she will let his widow decide what to do with excess donations, but she plans to encourage her to try to start a charitable foundation in his honor.
GoFundMe also donated $5,000 to each of the victims.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting. During times of tragedy like the devastating shooting in Olathe, it is inspiring to see communities and folks from all across the world come together on GoFundMe in support of the victims and their families,” a company spokesperson said.