The Redcliffe community has come together to raise more than $81,000 in funds for the medical expenses and recovery of a toddler involved in a freak accident at the Redcliffe Paceway.
On Sunday, the 24th of March 2019, two-year-old Lara Whitaker was standing by the sidelines with her father Gary Whitaker, a prominent harness racing driver, her mom Joedy, and her one-year-old brother when the gate of a pace vehicle smashed towards the family after it failed to retract.
The toddler was rushed to the Queensland Children’s Hospital where doctors determined she suffered massive injuries to her face and abdomen. Her condition has stabilised but she remains in critical care.
The rest of the family were also treated for cuts and minor injuries.
Following the accident, Australian Trotting Driving Champion Scott McCarthy set up a GoFundMe page for the Whitakers. Initially, the fundraising effort had a goal of $5,000 but generous donations from the community, especially from different racing clubs, poured in.
Nine days following the accident, the GoFundMe page received nearly $80,000. Within a month of the fundraising effort, 385 people have donated to help little Lara with her medical expenses and recovery.
On the 11th of May, the Redcliffe Harness Racing Club shared an update on Lara’s condition with a photo of a smiling toddler.
The accident is still under investigation by the police, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.