First, the Internet made the “Success Kid” famous. Now, it’s helping to save his father’s life.
Earlier this month, the family of Sammy Griner, the now 8-year-old kid whose determined expression and clenched fist spawned the hugely popular “Success Kid” meme, launched a GoFundMe campaign. The goal was to raise funds for a kidney transplant for Sammy's dad.
Justin Griner was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2006. He experienced full kidney failure in 2009, and his wife Laney told The Daily Dot that he needs a kidney transplant to survive.
"One can only survive with no natural kidney function and using article kidney filtering for so long,” she said. ”His energy and mood are affected, he can no longer work, and he spends 12 hours a week in a dialysis clinic. Having been on dialysis for this long greatly increases his risks of developing further complications. The only way to save his life is to get a transplant. There's no other way around that."
But the costs associated with the transplant greatly worried the family. Laney told The Daily Dot that while the transplant would be covered by Medicare, “there's a lot of medicines and anti-rejection drugs one must take for life, some costing thousands of dollars a month.” Plus, “the costs associated with ensuring recipients' bodies accept a donated kidney are exorbitant,” she said.
The Internet, however, has rallied to lend a hand to the family.
The Griner family’s GoFundMe goal was $75,000. In less than two weeks, more than $100,000 was donated.
“I can't thank you all enough for getting us to our goal and way beyond. We're so thankful and humbled by the outpouring of support and kindness,” Laney wrote on the campaign page over the weekend. “This has all been far beyond our wildest hopes for fundraising. We never could've dreamed this… I love the Internet so much.”
Laney told BuzzFeed that while her son is sometimes "embarrassed" by his viral fame, he's glad his popularity can help his dad.
"His dad is his hero; he’d happily do anything to help him get better," she said.
Thus far, the Griners have not found an acceptable donor match for Justin. (Visit the family’s GoFundMe page to see if you’re a match.)