CINCINNATI — Hundreds gathered Sunday night to raise funds to support the fight against Australia wildfires that have displaced thousands of people and killed roughly 500 million animals.
People gathered at Queen City Radio for Australia Day -- January 26 -- to fundraise for the country from 10,000 miles away.
"I looked around the courtyard -- there were literally hundreds of people and the sun came out and there's a big sign saying 'Fundraiser for Australia Rescue Down Under' -- and I was just like, 'what a city,'" said Miranda McGee, an Australian who helped to coordinate the event. "I love Cincinnati."
Wearing her flag proudly, McGee celebrated the day next to hundreds of others working to raise tens of thousands of dollars for relief efforts.
"We set a $20,000 goal," said Laura Peterson, events coordinator for Queen City Radio. "We've blown that away!"
Roughly $8,000 of those dollars were raised by just one person: 10-year-old Lily Mackenzie-Thurley.
"Just help Australia," she said. "Whatever you can do. There have been lots of lives lost, so whatever you can do."
The donations have come in from people and organizations all across the Tri-State, including the Firefighters Union. Peterson said the union sold out of shirts created to raise funds for the efforts in the first 90 minutes.
The donations will be split between the Australia Red Cross and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The total amount raised hasn't been announced yet; Peterson said the funds came in so quickly that it became hard to keep track.
"I cannot wait to tally up the numbers and see how much money we've raised," she said.
McGee said the group will continue to raise money on their GoFundMe page long after Queen City Radio's event came to a close Sunday night.