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British mom Nikki Smith said her daughters, ages 12 and 10, love everything Disney and often watch YouTube videos of parents surprising their children with trips to Disney World with tears in their eyes.
That's the reason, Smith wrote in a post on the website GoFundMe, that she decided to try to crowdfund a trip to Disney World for the three of them. "I know that I would never be able to get them there on my own," wrote the hospital worker from Bristol, England. "By the time I save up, they would be too old to enjoy it."
Smith wrote that she is only able to work two nights a week right now because of childcare issues and contract hours, so she needs help making her daughters' dreams come true. She set the goal on her original GoFundMe campaign for £5,000 (about $6,245 in U.S currency).
"I have been blessed with the most amazing, kind, loving, and caring daughters," she wrote. "They are my best friends and my life... I want to show them how much I appreciate and love them."
The mom originally posted the GoFundMe at the beginning of March, but after it was shared 18,000 times — mostly for the purpose of criticizing Smith or making fun of the request for being so forward and asking for money for a vacation — she took it down. However, she recently put the request back up, adding a collage of headlines and pictures from the posts and articles that blasted her.
"I'm sorry, but this is scrounging," wrote commenter "gilly" on an article about the campaign in The Sun. "All children would love to have a lovely holiday in Disney, but they also have to learn life is not like that and they can't have everything they want. If she wants to take them on holiday, go on one you can afford, and if she can't, then do what thousands of other families have to do and stay home."
Another commenter, "John Tunstall," added, "I thought that funding sites like this one were for worthy causes and not freebie holidays?"
"I will not be shamed because I wanted to do more for my children," she wrote in her update. "I am not a bad person. I also am not asking people for their hard-earned money. People have a choice."
Smith admitted that when she read back over her original post, it sounded "cheeky," but she said she had never used GoFundMe before and was just looking out for her children and trying to make them happy. "I never meant to upset anyone," she wrote.
TODAY Parents reached out to Smith for comment but did not receive a reply.
Smith's GoFundMe page has now been shared more than 20,000 times and has raised £630 (about $790) at this time, with recent donors commenting, "Good luck, and thank you for being honest about your goals," and "Everyone should get to go to Disney World at least once! Enjoy!"
Perhaps Smith and her daughters will make it to the Happiest Place on Earth after all.