Nikki Smith, a mom-of-two from the UK, sparked a huge online backlash with a controversial GoFundMe page asking for £5,000 (about $6K) to take her two daughters to Disney World. After the page went viral, she took it down, The Sun reports. But she has now put a new page up passionately defending herself, and doubled her fundraising goal to £10,000 (about $13K).
"After the worst time and the twisted story the newspapers told about me I was prompted to put my page back up," she writes. "I feel this to be the only way I can speak out, I am not a bad person."
The 33-year-old mom works two nights a week in a local hospital, and in her initial post said she couldn't work more “because of childcare” and so she was asking strangers to "make my daughters’ dreams come true."
"It’s so hard to save with two children as well as working part time, you’ve got the bills and shopping – it would probably take me 10 years to save up that much and it would be too late then," she told The Sun.
But people criticized Smith for taking advantage of GoFundMe—a website usually used to raise money for charitable causes. Her initial post was ironically shared more than 18,000 times on Facebook and received hundreds of nasty comments.
“Taking the absolute piss," wrote one commenter, The Sun reports. "There are plenty of families who struggle with money that save for holidays regardless of how long it takes. Absolute chancer.”
Another wrote: "There's kids dying and crying out for help for GoFundMe pages for treatment to save their lives. I know which one I would be donating to."
Since putting up her new page, Smith has raised £360 (about $450) towards her goal.
Here's her full post defending her decision:
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼After the worst time and the twisted story the newspapers told about me I was prompted to put my page back up , I feel this to be the only way I can speak out ,I am not a bad person :( ..I also am not asking people for their hard earned money , people have a choice . I need to add that i did not sell any story and have received no money from any of the newspapers , they stole my photos and made up a lot .my children , family or anybody knew that I set up this page ( well they do now ) and yes I should have thought about it more before I opened it but it's too late now . i love my children and my job , I'm a carer and I havent been able to get anymore hours at work , nights are not easy to come by , I do try . the press have made me out to be a awful person when I was only thinking of my children and making them happy .I have never used go fund me before so I should have looked into it more. I have used the just giving website and I completed race for life last year , in memory of my much loved close relatives. I thought this section of the website was for funding hopes , dreams and wishes, and I believed go fund me was a chance to raise money for anything,I looked in the category and a lot of people were doing similar things , even raising money for breast enhancements and cars , Also I know people who have funded their own holidays this way . I never meant to upset anyone .I'm traumatised by the abuse and negativity I have received and only put this back up because alot of people said I should. Online trolls are evil , I haven't hurt anyone and I was only trying to fulfil my children's dreams .this is my original story ... thankyou to all who have been so kind to me. X
On the one hand, I can totally understand how people with sick kids or facing urgent medical crisis might resent this relatively frivolous GoFundMe request. But on the other hand, with all that's going on in the world, this is where we focus our rage? A mom trying to take her kids to Disney World? SMDH.
For once, internet, can we let a mom live?????