TikToker and musical artist Madison Olds (@madison_olds) is embarking on an ambitious plan to raise money for her boyfriend’s stem cell transplant by doing daily dances on the platform, where she’s garnered more than 7 million likes and nearly 240,000 followers to date.

British Columbia-based Olds began her quest to raise money for stem cells back in September. Then, she aimed to dance her way into the TikTok Creator Fund, which TikTok introduced in July.

(That fund, according to the July 22 press release, was intended to “help support ambitious creators who are seeking opportunities to foster a livelihood through their innovative content.” Initially announced at $200 million, the company announced a week later it was increasing the fund to $1 billion.)

Olds launched the fundraiser for boyfriend Derek Jezewsky, who has been using a wheelchair since breaking his T6 and T7 vertebrae in a 2017 motocross accident, according to Kamloops This Week.

Olds began her journey by dancing to Sada Baby’s “Whole Lotta Choppas.”

By Oct. 14, she switched strategies to make a direct appeal to followers, with the goal to “raise enough money to surprise my birthday with stemcells for Christmas.” Her new “Day 1” dance declaration was to Redfoo’s “New Thang.”

The GoFundMe page Olds created, one of two fundraising avenues on her Linktree, notes that the two of them have been investigating options to help Jezewsky walk again. They landed on stem cell therapy in Colombia for a program he can enter by the end of January, provided they can raise $55,000.

In a video Olds released on TikTok on Wednesday, she announced that the community coming together for her cause has raised enough money for one of the four rounds of stem cells for Jezewsky’s treatment.

“A lot of you have been donating, and it actually just overwhelms me with how much everyone has given,” she noted. “Not only have we raised money [and] made friends along the way but have also inspired other spinal cord injury patients to chase similar dreams.”

*First Published: Nov 19, 2020, 4:27 pm

Phil West

Phil West is a veteran professional writer and editor, and the author of two books on soccer, ‘The United States of Soccer,’ and ‘I Believe That We Will Win,’ both from The Overlook Press. His work has appeared most recently in MLSSoccer.com, Pro Soccer USA, Texas Highways, and Howler. Based in Austin, he is also a lecturer in the Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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