This Humans Of New York News Is Your #FeelGoodFriday

For all the hacks, trolls, and stress, the internet can still be a wonderful force for good. Almost nothing exemplifies this better than the latest series from Humans of New York.

Humans of New York, if you're not familiar, shares the photos and struggles of real people living in NYC. And for the past few weeks, it's been drawing attention to pediatric cancer through an association with Memorial Sloan Kettering. Today, Humans of New York shared that it has raised nearly $3.4 million from more than 90,000 people to help fight pediatric cancer through its social media campaign. (As of posting, that number is now over $3.5 million, from more than 95,000 people. If you haven't donated yet, but want to, you can do so here.)

Over the past two weeks, 90,000 of you donated nearly $3.4 million to help fight pediatric cancer. That is a staggering amount of money. Thank you. For those of you who might not have been in a place to contribute financially, thank you so much for engaging with this difficult material. The support and solidarity you showed these families was just as valuable as the money itself. You are the most caring community of people on the Internet. That’s no exaggeration. It’s proven by the tone of every comment section. And it’s proven by the $8.5 million you’ve given to charity in the past 1.5 years. You are such a compassionate collection of people, and I can’t thank you enough for all that you’ve contributed to HONY. Lastly, thank you so much to Dr. O'Reilly and the Department of Pediatrics at Memorial Sloan Kettering for making this series possible. Special thanks to Nina Pickett and Rachel Corke, who paved every stone on my path. I’ve got one last story to leave you with. Last night you raised over $1 million in honor of Max to research and cure DIPG—the brain tumor that killed him. Dr. Souweidane tells me that this money represents the “single greatest leap forward” in his personal crusade against DIPG. When I interviewed Julie a few days ago, we were sitting on a bench in Madison Square Park that had been dedicated to Max. The plaque listed all the things that Max loved, and one of those things was ‘millions.’ I asked Julie what that meant. ‘Max’s uncle Charley gave him one hundred dollars,’ she told me. ‘And Max kept saying that one day he’d have a million.’ So thank you, everyone, for giving Max his million. I’ll be leaving the fundraiser up all day, for anyone who would still like to donate. Link in bio.

A photo posted by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on

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Let's take a moment to think about how awesome that is: Nearly 100,000 people coming together to help fight something real in the world, all thanks to social media.

So often, we get caught up in the stress and drama of crafting the perfect selfie or quibble about how annoying it is that our mom keeps liking our Facebook photos. But social media is so much more, and so much more powerful, than just sharing photos — even if that's what it is on the surface. By sharing a public post on Instagram or Facebook, you can connect with people all over the world. And as Humans of New York shows, if you've got a cause to support, that means you can make a big difference.

Sites such as Generosity and GoFundMe make it possible for you to donate to causes you believe in, even if you're a thousand miles away and you've only got $1 to give. But it's not just monetary support that social media is enabling.

"When I was growing up and friends missed a week of school due to illness, we really didn’t do much about it," mother Candice Curry wrote in a blog post after her daughter was hospitalized due to illness. Thanks to the Snapchats her daughter sent from the hospital, friends began sending food, care packages, and making visits. "The instant access these kids had to each other over the week gave them the ability to show compassion to my daughter in ways we couldn’t when we were their age. It gave them ways to love on her while she was home sick. It gave them the ability to show her that they cared and that she was not only loved but she was missed."

This is the beautiful side of social media that we so often forget.

We all love the likes, but we also give those likes back in return — in more ways than can be measured with a simple heart icon or smiley face emoji.
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