Update, 4/18/2017: Nikki Smith, the mom who was blasted with criticism for crowdfunding a trip to Disney for her daughters, has officially raised $8,550 for her travels - looks like the mom of two is taking that coveted trip after all.
Smith took down her original GoFundMe account after Internet criticism got to be too much, only to open up a new one days later.
Considering the fact that Smith only raised $12 the first time around (and that was after her story went viral), it looks like even the Internet can have a change of heart. Smith hasn't announced any travel plans yet, but we'll wish her and her children a safe and magical trip in advance.
Original, 3/21/2017: After a mom from the UK created a GoFundMe account to get her two daughters to Disney World, the Internet nearly combusted with the controversy.
While Nikki Smith, 33, maintains that her decision to crowdsource funds came from her fervent wish to give her children a trip of a lifetime, many believe that her plea was an inappropriate use of GoFundMe - a charitable site designed to help families coping with sickness, death or financial hardship.
Smith's original fundraising goal was around $6,000 - but she shut down the page shortly after posting the link to Facebook, where it was shared 19,000 times, according to Elite Daily (that Facebook post has since been deleted, too). Despite the viral response, Smith raised only $12 - clearly, the Internet wasn't pleased with Smith at all. She claims she's been labeled a bad person and mother.
But now, Smith has set up a new GoFundMe page, and has increased her fundraising goal to about $13,000. After the torrent of abuse, it's hard to understand why she would come back into the public eye - but she sees fundraising again as a way to speak out and defend herself against the hatred. "After the worst time and the twisted story the newspapers told about me, I was prompted to put my page back up," she wrote on the new page. "I feel this to be the only way I can speak out."
Smith says she works two nights a week in a local hospital, claiming in her initial post that she could not work more "because of childcare." She explained this further in the update: "I haven't been able to get any more hours at work. I do try."
As for the public outcry surrounding her mission, Smith wrote that she "never meant to upset anyone" and that she has been "traumatized by the abuse and negativity." Her goal, however, remains the same - bringing her "amazing, kind, loving and caring daughters" on a trip that she, on her own, cannot afford. "They watch a lot of YouTube videos where children are surprised by their parents with a [trip] to Disney World," she wrote. "By the time I save up they would be too old to enjoy it."
Saving up, however, seems to be the gist of the Internet's advice. "Try cutting back and saving hard like the rest of us," wrote a commenter. Others (albeit a smaller bunch) have no problem with Smith's methods: "As long as the person is honest about why they are needing a GoFundMe page and use the funds for that reason, that's all that matters," another wrote.
Smith said that she is "not asking people for their hard earned money," and that "people have a choice" about whether or not they want to donate - and claims that she's seen other families raise vacation money this way. As of now, Smith has raised around $660 for her trip and hopes to eventually "fulfill her children's dreams."
[h/t Elite Daily]
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