Bridey Heing
April 15, 2015 6:49 am

If you spend any significant amount of time on the Internet, you’re probably familiar with ‘Success Kid.’ The meme features 11-month-old Sam Griner, making a fist (a sandy fist), and staring straight and triumphantly into the camera. It’s used when luck or hard work really pay off and the meme captures very important life moments like this one:

But the now-8-year-old Sam is using his Internet fame for a really awesome purpose: Helping his dad get a new kidney.

Justin Griner (Sam’s dad) was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2006, and suffered full kidney failure in 2009. He’s currently on dialysis, but he needs a kidney transplant in order to recover his quality of life. He’s only 39, but as his wife Laney told the Daily Dot, “His energy and mood are affected, he can no longer work, and he spends 12 hours a week in dialysis clinic . . . The only way to save his life is to get a transplant. There’s no other way around that.”

Although Medicare will cover the cost of the transplant and the dialysis, it’s the costs of the medications Griner will have to take afterwards that have them worried. Some can cost thousands of dollars every month, and those costs would have to come out of pocket. They are also still looking for a live donor. And so Laney set up a campaign on GoFundMe to raise $75,000.

At first, Sam’s mom Laney didn’t want to use her meme-famous son to get attention for Justin, but as she told Buzzfeed, “then I thought what a positive boost it could bring to our fundraising efforts for people to know this is for the father of the baby who has made so many people smile.” She was right.

Here’s a picture of the family, BTW:

They started the campaign about a week ago, and they’ve already blown past their $75,000 goal, with over $80,000 raised. Almost 4,000 people have made donations so far, with more coming in every few minutes. The incredible outpouring of support underlines the reason why the Griners decided to use the ‘Success Kid’ meme as a way of spreading the word. As Laney said, “If anyone understands the power, the mass and goodwill of the Internet, it’s those of us lucky to experience it daily.”

Here’s Sam and his dad today:

Thinking of you guys, and hoping all the Internet efforts lead to success.

To learn more about the campaign or make a donation, visit the Griners’ GoFundMe page here

(Image via, via)