Mom defends the bizarre GoFundMe campaign she set up for her kids
For people who can't afford certain things in life, fundraising platforms can be an excellent tool. In the states, for example, where universal healthcare is not available, many individuals find themselves asking strangers for help to pay their medical bills.
Likewise, folks who are trying to raise money for less privileged areas - where people could be in desperate need of essential items such as water, food, or shelter - may turn to fundraising sites for help, as might people who need emergency cash to help pay for an operation for a pet, or a sudden home repair.
Basically, these sites are normally used to pay for necessities; so, when one mom set up a GoFundMe to take her kids to Disneyworld Florida, she got a lot of hate.
Niki Smith, a 33-year-old mom from the UK, set up a campaign to raise £7,000 ($9,700) to take her two daughters on the holiday of a lifetime. In the post, she explained that the young girls - aged 10 and 12 - had "lost two very special people in [their] lives" over the past two years, and that she wanted to "make [their] dreams come true" by taking them on a trip.
Unfortunately, because she is a single parent, she only has the time to work two nights a week at her local hospital, and therefore does not have a big enough income to go on vacation.
Plus, as all donations on GoFundMe are voluntary, she didn't think she was doing any harm by asking for a little help with her finances. As it turns out, though, she was wrong.
Thousands of people shared her original fundraising post, with many labeling her a "beggar" and a "scrounger". Hateful comments were left on her Facebook page, with one irate man saying, "PAY FOR YOUR OWN HOLIDAYS!!!!" and a woman adding, "Why should the rest of us scrimp and save !!! For her to scrounge?"
After a while, there was so much abuse that Smith found herself writing a defensive post on the GoFundMe page.
"I am not a bad person," she wrote. "I also am not asking people for their hard earned money, people have a choice."
She went on:
"I love my children and my job, I'm a carer and haven't been able to get any more hours at work. Nightshifts are not easy to come by. I do try.
"The press have made me out to be an awful person when I was only thinking of my children and making them happy. I have never used GoFundMe before so I should have looked into it more.
"I thought this section of the website was for funding hopes, dreams and wishes ... I looked in the category and a lot of people were doing similar things - even raising money for breast enhancements and cars.
"I never meant to upset anyone. I'm traumatised by the abuse and negativity I have received."
In the past, people have lied in order to raise money on platforms such as GoFundMe, but Smith was totally upfront and honest. If nobody wanted to give her any money, they didn't have to - so why complain?
After getting so much publicity, the single mom did actually manage to reach her target goal and enjoyed a holiday with her kids, regardless of what the haters had to say.