KAITLIN Barton died unexpectedly at the weekend with her family still unaware of how and struggling to pay for the 16-year-old's funeral.
Her aunt Emma Sutton said the Harristown State High School student died in the early hours of Sunday at a friend's house during a sleep-over.
"She was out camping in the backyard of a friend's house and we are unsure of what happened at the moment," Ms Sutton said.
"She collapsed outside of her tent; we aren't sure why she had gone outside but she never made it back in."
Ms Sutton said Kaitlin was believed to have collapsed and died between 4am and 6am before her friends found her about 8am. Paramedics were called but there was nothing they could do.
While an autopsy could take up to one month to determine why she died, Ms Sutton said they suspected an energy drink could have been the cause, with Kaitlin taking a six-pack with her to the sleep-over. Kaitlin didn't suffer from any medical conditions.
Ms Sutton said Kaitlin's parents Tracey and Trevor and her brothers Nathan, 19, and Brock, 11, were struggling to come to terms with what had happened and to find the funds to pay for a funeral.
"They are going to be out of work for months. The funeral itself will cost more than $7500 and that is not covering food and all the other costs," she said.
The family is asking for support, with older brother Nathan starting a Go Fund Me page asking for help to bury his little sister who he described as cheeky, bright, bubbly and a friend to all who loved being a part of the 13 Army Cadet Unit.
"When Kaitlin was to finish school she had planned to join the army full time and was proud to be able to serve her country," Mr Barton said.
"Kaitlin was a sergeant at cadets, which she took seriously, and used all she knew not just a cadets but across all aspects of life."
Mr Barton said he wanted to honour her sister, but his family needed help.
"No one plans to bury their child and my mum and dad are now struggling to find funds to bury their only daughter and give her the send off that she deserves," he said.
"We need funds to pay for my 16-year-old sister's funeral. Kaitlin deserves a funeral that shows how much she was loved, not just by her family but the many, many friends who knew her."
The family hopes to raise $7500 for Kaitlin's funeral, with more than $2500 raised as of yesterday afternoon. Any extra money raised will go towards a memorial fund at her army cadet unit.
Kaitlin's funeral will be held once the cause of death has been determined.
To help go to gofundme.com/ kaitlins-funeral.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.