​Humboldt Broncos fund among 5 highest-ever GoFundMe campaigns

Donations stemming from the heartbreak of 15 deaths in the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus crash have propelled a fund for the players’ families into GoFundMe’s top five largest global campaigns.

'Funds for Humboldt Broncos' topped by only 4 other campaigns, including 'Time’s Up Legal Defence Fund'

Cailin Hergott, left, and Sylvie Kellington started the huge GoFundMe campaign. (Jennifer Barr/CBC)

On Wedneday, the team's athletic therapist Dayna Brons died, bringing the death toll to 16. Read the latest here.

Donations stemming from the heartbreak of 15 deaths in the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus crash have propelled a fund for the players' families into GoFundMe's top five largest global campaigns.

The money, $8.2 million ($6.5 million US) and counting, comes from 65 countries, according to GoFundMe's Humboldt fund website Wednesday.

No other Canadian campaigns have ever raised more money than the "Funds for Humboldt Broncos" campaign, which is for the families of a team that lost more than half of its players Friday when the bus was headed to a playoff game and collided with a semi-trailer.

Twelve who were on the bus during the crash are still in hospital, four of them in critical condition, four with significant injuries, and four in stable condition. More information on the victims can be found here. 

People from 65 countries have donated to the campaign. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

Among largest campaigns

The largest campaign to date has been the Time's Up Legal Defence Fund, which works to bring victims of sexual harassment or abuse into contact with support. It has raised more than $21.5 million US in the three months it's been in place.

The second-largest campaign is for the victims of the Las Vegas concert shooting last year, with $11.8 million raised over six months, followed by the campaign for the victims of the Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting in 2016, which raised $7.8 million.

The Humboldt Broncos campaign is on track to top the one for the victims of the February 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., which reached $6.7 million.

Humboldt hockey mom Sylvia Kellington started the campaign. She said immediate matters like funeral costs are only part of what she expects the victims' families to spend the money on.

"I know there will probably be rehab costs and home renovations that need to be done for some of the players and, I mean, I don't know exactly where that will end," she said.

She also said it would be nice to create a foundation to support all 12 teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

Four other GoFundMe campaigns for families of the injured and deceased Broncos players and personnel have since been created. The campaign for the family of the deceased head coach Darcy Haugan is above $48,000, the one for assistant coach Mark Cross is above $1,500, and that for injured player Ryan Straschnitzki is above $7,000.

Canadians have opened their hearts and wallets to the Humboldt Broncos, with a GoFundMe campaign bringing in millions of dollars. The donation page for the victims and families affected by the Broncos' bus crash has now become the website's biggest campaign in Canadian history. CBC News spoke to the campaign's organizers about the generosity they're seeing from people across the country 2:59

GoFundMe CEO

GoFundMe has created a cause page for all verified campaigns to make it easier to donate.

Rob Solomon, chief executive of GoFundMe, said the fundraising website takes its responsibilities seriously.

"In the case of the big campaign that's occurring related to the Humboldt Broncos, we're in touch with the president of the Broncos club, and we're working with them to figure out the best way to have them disburse the funds in a fair manner," he told CBC Calgary News at 6.

"That will take a few days over this week to figure out the best practices. We also have a lot of expertise based on other tragedies that have occurred, and we have worked with many organizations to make sure funds are disbursed properly."

He said GoFundMe works with the campaign organizer to try to get a plan from them for how funds will be disbursed.

"The onus is upon the campaign organizer and the Broncos organization and others involved to make sure it happens in a fair way. And we work very closely to make sure that happens," Solomon said.

In Canada, according to its website, GoFundMe has a third-party payment processing fee for services collects 2.9 per cent of donations, along with $0.30 per donation. That would amount to more than $182,700 Cdn from the Humboldt funds raised so far. GoFundMe launched a free platform in December and now relies on voluntary tips to provide its service.