Yesterday we posted the story of Melissa Smith. Melissa survived Hodgkins Lymphoma twice only to be stricken with a rare disease called Transverse Myelitis, an extremely rare neurological disease in which your immune system attacks your spinal cord. She was left paralyzed from the waist down.
We traveled to Annapolis to surprise Melissa at her favorite restaurant. Surrounded by her closest friends and family, we delivered the news that theCHIVE Fund would be giving Melissa $50,000 to put toward a down payment on a handicap accessible home. At the time, Melissa told me that even $1,000 donation would be a huge help.
But in the back of my mind I knew we had to go bigger for Melissa. We rely so heavily on our Chive Fund donors to get the charity ball rolling but I made the decision on the plane home to take the campaign to all of Chive Nation in the hopes they would contribute to this amazing cause.
But nobody could have guessed what would happen next.
I asked Chive Nation to match our $50,000 donation. We launched Melissa’s story and I went across the street to get a coffee – I don’t sleep much in the days leading up to our charity launches and I just needed some caffeine. When I returned to my desk, I refreshed the page – $20,000?? Could that be right?? The hashtag #wegotyoumelissa began to spread on Twitter like wildfire.
Within 30 minutes, theCHIVERS had hit the $50,000 mark and y’all were just taking batting practice at that point. After you hit the goal, not only did the number of donations begin to increase, but the average donation amount also spiked. You could see a collective shift in the comments, the Chivers had no intention of putting a down payment on Melissa’s house at all. You had every intention of buying the entire house instead.
The Chivers were finished taking batting practice. Now they were swinging for the fences.
The amounts surged past the $100,000 mark and, just as quickly, $200,000. The story had ignited and spread far beyond theCHIVE. Melissa’s story went something beyond viral, it was in orbit.
This is the photo of Melissa surrounded by her family moments before the launch this morning. Melissa went to Starbucks so she could watch the campaign go live. What we didn’t know is that she RAK’d EVERYBODY in the Starbucks a pumpkin latte before it started. How amazing is that? Before the world reached out to Melissa, she was already paying it forward.
Just before hitting the $50,000 goal…
But it didn’t stop there…
A photo of Melissa watching her campaign hit the $100,000 mark…
Yesterday, I did the same thing as y’all did – I sat at my desk mash loading the donations page and watching the tally rise in disbelief as the Chivers absolutely trashed the $50,000 goal.
When I woke up, we had surpassed the $300,000 mark. The total now stands at $330,000$350,000.
The day I met Melissa, I noticed she was physically holding onto things at the restaurant, my sleeve, her sister’s jeans. At one point I asked if she was ok?
“Yes… It’s just… I still don’t believe any of this is real.”
I spoke to Melissa multiple times yesterday. She was in total disbelief early on. But her disbelieve gave way to the realization that all of this is very, very real. Every time I speak with her, the enthusiasm in her voice swells. She is constantly expressing how grateful she is to the Chive Community. Melissa wanted me to tell y’all that she reads all the comments and she will never be able to express in words how grateful she is that you changed her life in one afternoon.
Melissa will be at our 1st AnnualGreen Gala in Austin on November 2nd. All our Green Members will get a chance to say hi to this amazing girl. To all the rest of our Chive Fund members, you started this. You should be so proud of yourselves for that. To the rest of Chive Nation, you sure as hell finished it.
But it’s not over yet. Donations continue to pour in from around the globe. The Chivers have made a statement with this one I can tell you. You’ve stepped up to the plate when a fragile soul needed your help the most, and parked it right in the upper deck. And in so doing you inspired millions of people yesterday to make the world 10% happier.