Every once in a while a story comes along that begs to go viral – it simply has that human PULL and it wants you to be part of it – to share it, blog it, tweet it… We saw such story appear in our timelines today, when blogger @6000 tweeted:
Can You Help? PLEASE RT! Woolies Bunny Help: 6000.co.za/?p=9551—
(@6000) October 18, 2012
The post called on us to help the nine-year old Nic, to find an identical soft toy to the one that needs to be destroyed after his cancer treatment, as per his dad:
“…Nic is going for his Radiated Iodine therapy very soon and will be in isolation for up to 3 days , after which his PJ’s and bedding will be incinerated. He will feel better with Rabbit (pictured) but unfortunately he will be incinerated too! We are desperately trying to find the same rabbit to act as a body double! He was bought at Woolies about 10 years ago. If anybody has one like this , I will happily buy it from you! please let me know…..we know Nic is always brave with his team mate!”
And the online community of Cape Town, and South Africa, did not disappoint! Once @capetown added a hash tag to the story, it bred like…umm…well rabbits of course!
— Cape Town ♡ (@CapeTown) October 18, 2012
And trended in Cape Town, and in South Africa, within a few hours:
one Capetonian (@iAmNotMany) October 18, 2012
It is difficult to follow the development of the story across social media – at least for me. Maybe someone has good tools to visualise this for us? Thank you to Woolworths, who responded via Twitter true to form to say they are also looking for the toy, and retweeted to their 22 000 odd followers:
Have you seen this bunny? He was bought at Woolies 10 years ago & now a very sick little boy needs him desperately… twitter.com/WOOLWORTHS_SA/…
— Woolworths SA (@WOOLWORTHS_SA) October 18, 2012
However, it appears that the cross-posting by You Magazine into FaceBook delivered some result: “Great news. One of our readers just e-mailed us. They have the exact rabbit. We will keep you updated”.
Social media is at its best when it connects people in unexpected ways to solve problems that we face every day. I love community. This story is one about a community of caring people standing together to help a boy most of us have never met. Our thoughts are with Nic, and with other cancer warriors from our community. After all, this is the real reason why we got excited about this #rabbit4nic going viral today. It was so nice to see it happen….
Let’s find the rabbit…
[UPDATE] We got a rabbit! Nicely done South Africa… It is on it’s way to Cape Town courtesy You Magazine: Mom of Nicholas on CapeTalk567 at 14:43 today: “We are trying to create an environment that is comfortable…he’s had ‘Rabbit’ for nine and a half years… and they are not produced any more, hence the photographs across social media. Perhaps someone can spare it and we can provide a substitute…”
YOU Magazine (@YouMagazine) October 18, 2012
[UPDATE 18/10 15:10] To be Confirmed. Is the rabbit sourced by You Magazine the identical twin of #rabbit4nic ? One of my followers say we should continue the search…because it is not.. And we may need more, for other children.
[UPDATE 18/10 17:07] Huisgenoot (the Afrikaans You Magazine) has since posted a photo of the lookalike rabbit of Chane Stapelberg on their website. There may very well be other rabbits that look more alike, but this is a close match, in my opinion. Nicholas will be the best judge. Parent24 reports that two soft toys were sourced, but neither looks identical to Rabbit. There is also sense that a cause may have been born today – rabbits to the rescue! Small things often do make the most difference.
Blown away… This is a story of traditional media, social media and ordinary people with influence coming together in an extraordinary way. Many influencers such as @anib and @stephaniebe used their networks to make this story fly. And there was also the interview with Nic’s mom by 567 Cape Talk, recorded on SoundCloud if you missed it: Rabbit for Nic found by 567 CapeTalk
[UPDATE 19/10 01:00]: The story was just picked up by well-known blogger, author and online expert, Aliza Sherman and retweeted to a few thousand more followers:
Aliza Sherman (@alizasherman) October 18, 2012
[UPDATE 19/10 08:44] Readers of You Magazine are really rallying behind this cause! Three South African ‘heroes’ are giving up their own rabbits. Here they are on You Magazine’s Facebook page. This morning a third possible match was found and the following tweet posted:
YOU Magazine (@YouMagazine) October 19, 2012
On days like these – when the @capetown Twitter account could play a part in using its influence online by choosing a great tag and retweeting a worthy cause – I sleep really well.