If you’re a living person on the internet, then it’s almost certain that you’re familiar with “Success Kid.” The picture of a pugnacious baby determinedly grasping a fistful of sand is one of the web’s most popular memes and synonymous with triumph. Now the real success kid, 8 year old Sammy Griner, is hoping to rack up one last big win by finding his dad a new kidney.
Justin Griner, Sammy’s dad, suffers from kidney disease. He suffered kidney failure shortly before Sammy was born. He undergoes regular dialysis three times per week. The family has considered a transplant, but the cost of surgery not covered by Medicare coupled with the long term expense of costly anti-rejection drugs have been prohibitive. Now the Griners are hoping that Sammy’s internet notoriety could help them to find the resources they need for this more sustainable solution.
A GoFundMe campaign set up in Justin’s name aims to raise $75,000, the estimated cost of Justin’s post-surgery drugs and treatment that’s not covered by Medicare. As of press time the campaign had successfully raised over $35,000 toward its goal. The Griners are also hoping that success kid’s notoriety might help them to find a kidney donor. Justin is not currently on the list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor, so his best hope for finding an organ is direct donation.
The Griners have an enjoyed some opportunities as a result of success kid’s internet fame. They were invited to ComicCon and have been interviewed by several media outlets about their web celebrity son. However, they have never made any effort to monetize or brand the meme. Even the GoFundMe campaign doesn’t use the meme. The family prefers to keep the focus on Justin and his needs and not capitalize on their brush with viral fame. Still, it’s appropriate to think that a family who gave the internet its favorite shorthand for an epic win would be able to rely on the kindness of strangers online in their time of trouble.
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