‘I feel elated’: Patrick Ete reacts to the overwhelming support on GoFundMe page
‘I’m short of words right now’
When he published his story online, Patrick Ete had no idea that it would end up causing the flurry it did. But, after collaborating with the Tab Lancaster, the account of Patrick’s experience reached thousands of people, and as a result his situation is changing drastically.
Graduating in 2016, Patrick was still facing a 73- year wait to receive his degree as he worked to pay off the £17,400 debt, but since the release of the Tab Lancaster’s article, this wait has been shortened radically. Within the article, a GoFundMe, set up by Patrick’s friend, had been linked – giving people the opportunity to donate if they wanted to. Starting off with just £20, the GoFundMe has grown over £7000 in less than 24 hours, and the number is ever growing.
When we realised the stature of the GoFundMe, we reached out to Patrick to find out how he feels following the support shown to him.
Speaking to us, Patrick said: “I’m short of words at the moment. I didn’t expect it to gain so much attention but I’m glad it did.” Patrick exhibited shock and gratitude at the situation, and went on to tell us that he’s hoping that the uni will now be able to see things from his perspective, which may lead to them releasing his degree and agreeing on a “feasible payment plan, just like the other unis have.”
Expressing his appreciation, Patrick also added: “I’d like to say a big thank you to my friend who set up the GoFundMe and to everyone who’s donated, commented and shared the link.” Elaborating, he said: “It means a lot to me and I feel elated knowing that people could imagine the work I’ve put into my career and are willing to help me get my degree.”
Patrick is unbelievably gracious to everyone for their support, and is hopeful that if the GoFundMe continues to grow, he will finally be able to make the most of his hard-earned degree. When asked how he felt after seeing that it was starting to grow, Patrick said: “I was greatly surprised” due to how much it was growing in comparison to what he initially imagined. However, when Patrick saw the total in the account after 24 hours, he was taken aback.
Patrick said: “That’s incredible! I’m so happy it’s gotten to that amount. At best I hope it gets to the amount needed to release my degree. Alternatively, I hope that the uni sees the effort and are able to release my degree and structure a feasible payment plan going forward.”
The Tab Lancaster were also able to get in touch with the wife of the founder of the GoFundMe. Jessica Anugoli told us that her husband Favour Anugoli set up the GoFundMe for Patrick as “they have a special friendship between them”. Jessica and Favour are both friends of Patrick, who experienced a similar situation. Jessica told us: “My husband’s sponsorship fell through the same year too, but Sunderland University understood it wasn’t his fault. I can’t even imagine where he would be today without his degree if that happened to him.”
When asked how she felt seeing the effect that the GoFundMe was going to have on Patrick’s life, she said: “It is absolutely amazing what you have done so far and all the donations that have flooded in as a result. It’s something we have shared sorrow over with Patrick for years now.”
Jessica finished off by saying: “Really hope Patrick gets his degree, and ASAP at that!”, an opinion shared by most.