If you’ve spent more than five minutes on the Internet over the last decade, it’s likely that you’ve come across one of the many faces of “Success Kid.”
From major accomplishments to the little victories like scoring an extra McNugget in your 10-piece, his face has been humorously used to champion success in all of life’s arenas.
Laney Griner captured the funny photo of her son, Sam, making a determined face and fist-clinching sand like a boss back in 2008—but she had no idea that eight years later, his face would still be plastered on thousands of memes and even t-shirts worldwide.
She posted the cute family photo to Flickr, and the rest is history.
He is, without question, the Internet’s most iconic baby.
But recently, Sam had the opportunity to use his Internet fame for a bigger purpose—one that proves this “Success Kid” is staying true to his name.
Due to a hereditary disease, his dad, Justin, experienced total kidney failure in 2009. He went on dialysis as a temporary solution, but they knew that ultimately he would need a new kidney to survive.
In 2015, Justin found out he would need to get a kidney transplant ASAP, but the procedure was bound to be a costly one.
“One can only survive with no natural kidney function…for so long,” Laney told CNN. “His energy and mood are affected; he can no longer work, and he spends 12 hours a week in dialysis clinic.
“Having been on dialysis for this long greatly increases his risks of developing further complications. The only way to save his life is to get a transplant. There’s no other way around that.”
That’s when Sam and Laney decided it would be a great time to put his famous mug to good use.
So they leveraged Sam’s legendary face of determination to launch a GoFundMe page for Justin—and needless to say, it was a wild success for this confident kid on a mission to save his daddy.
The Griners aimed to raise $75,000 for the procedure, but within days, they ended up exceeding their goal with a whopping $101,000 in donations.
The money more than covered their out-of-pocket costs, and Justin recovered fully from the surgery.
“He’s extremely proud that, because of his photo’s popularity, we were able to raise far more than we ever dreamed,” Laney told Little Things.