Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tweeps Helping Peeps : Cassie and Sam, The Power of Social Media

"Twitter is stupid." 

"Social media will be the downfall of our society." 

"Nobody cares what you had for lunch."  

You've heard it all, haven't you?  Maybe you've even said it.  But I can prove you wrong.  Well, at least on the first two...  I really don't care what you had for lunch.  My name is Cassie Sartin and John asked me to write a guest post for this here DaddyYo Blog about "Tweeps Helping Peeps."  And John's a good guy so here we are. 

Back in April my then 4 month old son, Sam, was diagnosed with cancer.  Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma to get technical.  You can read about our story here.  (Side note: SCREW YOU, CANCER! ::shakes fist in air::)  I did what I had to do to be with my son, which meant taking a dramatic cut in hours (This month I quit completely), thus losing our health benefits and having to pay for COBRA.  You might think I'm crazy for doing so, being that we really had no way to pay the massive COBRA premium, but as a family we put our faith in the Lord and trusted that he would provide the money.

Enter Jill.  This sweet, amazing, woman heard about our situation and took it upon her self to help us out.  She contacted me and asked if she could organize a fundraiser, a raffle of sorts, to help us pay for COBRA.  Different people and companies had already agreed to donate their goods and services as prizes, if you donated $5 you were entered to win one. Blogging or tweeting about the fundraiser with the hashtag #helpSam could get you extra entries.  The goal would be to raise $1,000.  As soon as I hit "send" on that message to give Jill the go-ahead, the #helpSam fundraiser was off and running in a big way.  Within hours that $1,000 goal was crushed!  Enough was raised in one day to pay for one month of COBRA: $1,500.  So a new goal was set to pay for TWO months!  

I just sat back in awe.  I watched Twitter explode with #helpSam tweets.  It seemed like everyone was tweeting about it whether they had 20 followers or 20,000.  Even Rob Thomas tweeted about it!  I almost peed in my pants!  The word was spreading like a virus on twitter, facebook, and the blogosphere.  (That's how I found the DaddyYo Blog!)  People were opening their hearts and wallets to help out complete strangers.  The Internet stepped up!

When it was all said and done the #helpSam fundraiser raised over $9,400!  Read that again.  Ninety-four hundred dollars.  Nine thousand four hundred dollars.  That's SIX MONTHS of COBRA, people!  Remember that piddly $1,000 goal?  Pfft!  

But that's not even the best of it, you see.  The day the #helpSam fundraiser closed we got the news that a mistake had been made on our paperwork and that we were in fact eligible for the government COBRA subsidy... meaning that our premium would be around $525 instead of $1,500!  God is AMAZING!

What a weight off of our shoulders it was to write a big fat check to pay for COBRA in advance.  Without Twitter and other forms of social media, reaching even that first $1,000 goal could have been impossible.  There are good people left in this world.  There are good people on the internet.  They might be tweeting about their turkey and ham on wheat, but they're also taking time out to help out their fellow Tweeps when they're in need.  And for that our family is immensely grateful.  

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Eric - BHF said...

Great story, thanks for sharing and way to go tweeps!

Thoughts and prayers for your son.

@tshaka_zulu said...

Wow! What a story. Thank you for sharing that because reading about your faith helps strengthen others, and my own. Your family will be in my family's prayers. Godspeed in your fight!

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