CLAGARY: Ada Guan and Wes Branch regret seeking $50K in crowdfunding campaign
1st-time parents say they never meant to offend people by asking for donations through crowdfunding
CBC News Posted: May 17, 2015 4:50 PM PT Last Updated: May 18, 2015 8:00 AM PT
New parents Ada Guan and Wes Branch arrived in Vancouver before heading home to Victoria after Guan gave birth to baby Chloe on a flight to Japan on May 10. The couple has faced backlash over their attempt to raise money in a crowdfunding campaign, so reduced the goal to $5,000 from $50,000. (CBC)
The Canadian couple who made international headlines when the woman delivered a surprise baby aboard an Air Canada flight headed to Japan regret seeking $50,000 through crowdfunding donations, and have dramatically lowered the goal.
Wes Branch and girlfriend Ada Guan, who are in their early 20s, were interviewed at Vancouver International Airport on Sunday morning on a stopover before a flight home to Victoria.
The baby, named Chloe, was a surprise Mother’s Day birth for the Canadian couple, who had boarded a flight from Calgary, destined to Japan, when the mother went into labour.
The two said the idea to crowdfund came from a family member who suggested they seek money from donors after the baby was born May 10, on Mother’s Day, and they were left facing medical bills in Japan.
Guan works part time and Branch is unemployed.
The two said they didn’t know how crowdfunding worked when they initially set up the GoFundMe site.
“Any kind of donation or help will be much appreciated to help pay for these unexpected expenses as I am unemployed and Ada will need to stay home with Chloe until we’re settle,” Branch wrote on the page.
Fundraising created stress from backlash
But Guan said the attempt to raise money has been stressful. After requesting the $50,000, the online community lashed back at the young pair, calling them greedy and accusing them of trying to capitalize on the situation.
”We didn’t know if we would make it through the week,” Guan said.
The couple has since reduced the asking amount to $5,000, which is what they had to pay for their medical expenses in Japan. By Sunday, donors had sent in $1,365.
Branch said he was initially angry at the response to their initial fundraising goal.
“It made me really mad, it made me want to reply to these people, but I said to myself I won’t. I am just going to raise my baby.”
Guan has said she didn’t know she was pregnant until giving birth, and that she had taken a pregnancy test about a month ago that came back negative.
Guan and her boyfriend were flying to Japan from Calgary to visit family. The tickets for the trip were a gift from Guan’s family.
She went into labour somewhere above Russia and the baby was born five hours later.
With files from Richard Zussman