You might know him as the most positive meme on the Internet, the meme that you're all too happy to use because it means you just kicked ass at something. He's the "Success Kid," the fist-pumping baby on the beach whose face exudes both sheer resolve and utter satisfaction. This week, he went from meme to real-life success story when the GoFundMe campaign raising money for Success Kid's father to have a kidney transplant surpassed its goal amount. Rarely does a meme come to life like this (unless there are frogs living the bachelor life out there that I don't know about), so it makes the Success Kid meme that much more meaningful.
According to the Daily Dot, Success Kid's real name is Sammy and he's now 8 years old (!). Sammy's dad, Justin Griner, was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2006 and suffered a kidney failure in 2009, forcing him to go on dialysis, which can shorten one's life span significantly. Last week, Justin's wife and Sammy's mom, Laney Griner, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover the kidney transplant and related medical costs. The family's goal was $75,000; as of 10 a.m. on Friday, a total of $98,820 has been raised.
The Griners' GoFundMe page, which notes that Justin's mother died from kidney disease, does not mention Sammy's celebrity status. Laney told BuzzFeed that she initially did not want to use her son's fame to help raise funds because she wanted to focus on Justin.
But then I thought what a positive boost it could bring to our fundraising efforts for people to know this is for the father of the baby who has made so many people smile.
That's when Laney told her family's story to the Daily Dot. She explained to the site how urgent Justin's condition is, writing in an email:
One can only survive with no natural kidney function and using article kidney filtering for so long. His energy and mood are affected, he can no longer work, and he spends 12 hours a week in 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.
She also talked about how much sense it made to connect her family's mission to Sammy's uplifting meme.
We're the parents of "Success Kid" for goodness sake. If anyone understands the power, the mass, and goodwill of the Internet, it's those of us lucky to experience it daily.
For anyone who's not familiar with Success Kid, here is the meme with its most fundamental message, which perfectly illustrates the Griners' successful crowdfunding campaign. In fact, we hope they used some of these in their celebratory emails to friends and relatives.
Here are other examples of the meme with captions that evoke that same feeling of "Alright, yeah!"
Now we can add one more to the bunch: