‘A dark place’: John Burfitt expects a long road back after ‘distressing’ cyber-bully attack


Mr Burfitt, a community hero to many, has dedicated the past 33 years to fundraising for ill children.
But speaking from a Mildura Base Hospital bed yesterday, Mr Burfitt said his fundraising and media stunts were never about himself.
“I’m just a little bit embarrassed about the call to help us with a car,” Mr Burfitt said, after Sunraysia Daily reported wife Helen had been catching a taxi to the hospital.
“For 33 years I’ve been doing fundraising and my heart and soul is in it. But it’s not about me.”
The fundraising champion was hospitalised earlier this month after cyber-bullying attacks on an ill child’s family spiralled out of control, and sent him to “a very dark spot”.
“The family doesn’t want anything to do with me or my wife which is quite distressing because
I’ve held that family in high esteem,” he said. “I don’t have friends who do that sort of thing and anyone who does it can disregard themselves as a friend of mine because I just don’t condone it.”
Mr Burfitt said he only began using Facebook at Christmas when wife Helen introduced him to the social media website.
“I found it was a great tool to get the message out about Operation CHAILIS (Children Having An Illness Living In Sunraysia), but I have stopped using Facebook now.”
He said the cyber-bullying of the child’s family and the family’s subsequent anger had taken its toll on him.
“It has put me in a very dark spot at the moment, a very dark place,” Mr Burfitt said.
“I’m starting to get a little better, but it’s a pretty deep depression at the moment.”
While he admitted it would be “a long road back,” the Red Cliffs man urged Sunraysia people to continue supporting sick children