Three-year-old Lucas Gonzalez has hyper IgM syndrome — a rare condition which means that his immune system is unable to protect him. He is unable to do a lot of the things a child his age might not think twice about doing because even the smallest issue could seriously threaten his life.
A bone marrow transplant could give him a chance to be a normal kid, but Lucas' parents were unable to cover the costs associated with the transplant. They started a site to raise funds, yet their $50,000 donation goal seemed like a huge stretch — until a group of Internet strangers united to offer help.
Everything changed with a post on popular link-sharing website Reddit:
Hi Reddit, I'm Lucas! I'm 3 years old, have a 1 in 1 million disease, and need a bone marrow transplant!
Within 12 hours, the donation amounted to $44,405 — with $31,000 being attributed directly to Reddit users — and a new message was posted:
REDDIT. HOLY CRAP. YOU ARE CUT OFF. STOP. STOP NOW. WE HAVE ALL THAT WE NEED. I CANNOT THANK EACH OF YOU ENOUGH. BUT SERIOUSLY, STOP DONATING NOW.
The remaining necessary funds will be gathered during a silent auction/fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida later in December. And out of sheer gratitude, Lucas' father will be getting a tattoo of the Reddit alien — the site's mascot.
It's worth noting that the sort of altruism presented after the Gonzalez family's call for help isn't uncommon among Reddit users. The site has hosted communities which dedicated themselves to shutting down auto-warranty robo callers, reuniting a mother and son who'd been apart 21 years, raising $500,000 for DonorsChoose.org, donating more than $185,000 to Direct Relief International for Haiti after an earthquake devastated the island in January 2010, preventing suicide, helping promote a large rally in Washington starring Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and more.
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