When doctors determined that Hadlie, a three-year-old suffering from a highly aggressive and rare brain tumor only had a few months left to live, her parents launched an Indiegogo Life fundraiser to raise enough money to check off everything on the little girl’s bucket list before it was too late. The world came together to raise more than $110,000 for her. Since then, Hadlie has sadly passed away, but her spirit lives on. Her mother Sarah has shared a few thoughts about the experience with us.
Tell us a bit about your fundraiser.
Our daughter, Hadlie, was diagnosed with DIPG in May 2014. Our first few days were very dark. DIPG is an aggressive brain tumor that is located in the brain stem. There are no effective treatments for DIPG and the survival rate is 0%. Knowing that our time with Hadlie was limited my husband, Matthew suggested we try crowd funding so that we could do anything and everything that Hadlie wanted to. We knew that we would not be able to make all of her dreams come true on our own. Initially Matthew and I decided on a fundraising goal of $10,000, but we didn’t know that if we reached that others could still donate, so we set our goal as $20,000. I will never forget the night we started our funding page.
I lied in the hospital bed with Hadlie while Matthew sat on the bed next to us, and we just watched the amount grow and grow from our phones. At one point one of our nurses came in crying, asking us if we were watching the page and seeing how much was being raised. It was completely overwhelming and I have a hard time still, thinking of that night, without getting emotional. The feeling of love and support completely enveloped us and in the worst moment of our lives we found strength. We felt loved by complete strangers half way across the world. Our goal was met within 4 hours. I remember feeling relieved that we would now be able to live everyday we had with Hadlie with no regrets. “Though she be but little she is fierce” is a quote that we associated with Hadlie even before she was diagnosed, but after, it became her mantra. Nothing and no one could keep her from living her life her way and enjoy every moment of it.
Why did you decide to fundraise on Indiegogo Life? What was your goal?
When we first decided to crowdfund, we did our research and liked Indiegogo because all of the money donated went directly to us. Some other crowd funding sites take a percentage of the money raised or a fee. We also liked that it was an international platform. Our monetary goal was $20,000.
Did anything surprise you about your experience?
We were completely overwhelmed and shocked by the quick response of supporters. It was fun to see people from across the globe supporting us. We were so grateful for the prayers and encouragement from complete strangers and read every message that was posted on our page.
What was the most valuable thing you learned?
Through the crowdfunding and through Hadlie’s entire journey we have been able to prioritize our lives and live in the moment. We were humbled by the 1,144 people who donated to our page. Hadlie taught so many to be present and live without regrets. We have taken that away from this entire experience.
What advice would you give to future Indiegogo Life fundraisers?
Our story, obviously, was very personal and I truly think that Hadlie’s spirit touched a lot of people. Updating information and adding photos along the way kept it very personal and allowed those who already donated to see into our lives and continue to feel connected.
How can the community continue to help your cause? Are you a part of any advocacy organizations?
Along with our Indiegogo page we started a Facebook page called Hadlie’s Bucket List. We continue to update on her page and want to use it as a platform to inspire and raise awareness for DIPG. We will be starting a foundation in her honor, but do not have the logistics in place yet. We will continue to live the way Hadlie taught us and share her joy on her Facebook page. Any information about the foundation will also be update on there.
To visit Hadlie’s fundraiser, click here.
Indiegogo Life is now Generosity by Indiegogo: the only socially conscious fundraising platform that’s free, fast, and open, giving individuals and organizations the power to improve lives everywhere. Find out more about Generosity at www.generosity.com.