The internet can be a window to the world. It can be a boon or a bane, either seen as a hindrance or a helpful tool
Make no mistake though, the internet is a helpful tool. It brings people together and allows them to do things that they couldn’t possibly accomplish on their own.
A prime example of this is crowdfunding which has been used to fund all sorts of things from tv shows to inventions and has even been used to save people’s lives.
Needing to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for her cancer treatment, Olivia Stoy sold bracelets online.
In May 2016, Olivia Stoy was diagnosed with T-Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a rare form of cancer. Two years later, the 14-year-old needed a bone marrow transplant, without which she could have passed away by July.
The cost of this procedure was very high, $950,000, none of which insurance was able to cover. Yet the hospital was able to make a deal with Olivia’s family, reducing the cost to $350,000.
While a significant price cut, $350,000 was still a lot of money and too much for Olivia’s family to afford all at once. They needed a way to raise that money quickly which is where Emily Bryan came in.
Bryan is a designer and the owner of the Emily Kai accessories business in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Upon hearing Olivia’s story, she offered her the opportunity to design a bracelet which could be sold on her website to pay for treatment.
Olivia took Bryan up on her offer, creating bracelets known as Lava Liv. These bracelets contain lava stones “as strong as Olivia’s heart” as well as several other stones.
Bryan seemed to have a lot of fun designing these bracelets with Olivia.
“She has always maintained a smile on her face through everything,” Bryan told News Channel 15. “…It was very fun to see her excitement in designing.”
One week later, she met her goal.
Olivia’s campaign exceeded her expectations. On June 14, she raised $25,000 of her $350,000 goal. Yet, by June 24, she had surpassed that goal.
The bracelets were only $20 a piece, but they were bringing in the sales like crazy, not just in Indiana but all around the United States.
On Sunday, June 17, Bryan presented Olivia with a check for $110,000. The rest of the money came from her GoFundMe campaign which is still taking donations to pay for future treatments.
Raising so much money so quickly surprised just about everybody involved, not the least of which was Olivia’s parents, Megan and Tom Stoy.
“I had no idea how many bracelets we sold,” Megan told News Channel 15 in an update. “I am completely shocked at Emily’s check and her donation and we’re so thankful for Emily and all she has done for Olivia.”
“It’s absolutely amazing and it shows what the power of people can do,” Tom added. “When you put a lot of good people together, you can climb major mountains in a small amount of time.”
Even with the transplant now paid for, Olivia and Bryan plan to continue selling Lava Liv bracelets for some time. From now on, for every Lava Liv bracelet sold, a free one will go to a kid with pediatric cancer.
Bryan is thankful for all of the support her campaign has received so far and hopes that it continues well into the future.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone in America,” Bryan told News Channel 15. “You should feel proud in wearing this bracelet because you’ve made a difference in Olivia’s life and you’re a part of that.”