How a Photo of a Dress Led to Raising Thousands of Dollars for a Young Cancer Warrior

By Janita Kan

A father-of-six did not expect the overwhelming amount of attention when he replied to a text message which was sent to his phone by mistake.

Tony Wood from Tennessee received messages with photos attached asking for fashion advice from an unknown number back in February. A young woman sent the photos of herself in a black formal gown to Wood by mistake thinking she had sent it to a friend.

Upon receiving the messages, Wood became immediately cautious about how he should reply.

“Society puts a lot of pressure on these young women to have a certain look and a certain body build,” Wood told Daily Mail Australia.

“We try to teach our children to be themselves and not worry about what others think … Even with that, my young daughters already express a desire to ‘fit in’ and I figured this young lady might need that reassurance,” he added.

So Wood decided to send the young lady some words of encouragement with a photo of five of his children giving thumbs up.

He wrote: “I think this message was intended for someone else. My wife isn’t home so I couldn’t get her opinion, but the kids and I think you look stunning in your dress! You should definitely go with that one!”

What happened next came as a huge surprise for Wood.

One of the young woman’s friends posted screenshots of the wrong number conversation on Twitter on March 8 and the story instantly became an online sensation. It received over 696,000 like and over 174,000 retweets, as of March 13.

Some social media users identified the family from the photo and brought it to the attention of the Wood family through Facebook and their GoFundMe page, reported Daily Mail. Some people were also quick to point out that Wood’s 4-year-old son Kaizler was missing from the photo.

Wood explained Kaizler was missing from the photo because he was undergoing chemotherapy at the hospital for leukemia, reported Daily Mail.

The 4-year-old was diagnosed with standard risk pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Dec. 23, 2015, according to the Facebook page.

The Facebook page was set up to document Kaizler’s battle with cancer, while the GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds for the cancer treatment.

As a result of the publicity, many social media users became aware of Kaizler’s plight and have donated to support the family.

Some social media users said they were moved by the story and complimented Wood for his actions.

“Proof that a little act of kindness can reap bigger acts of kindness,” one social media user said on GoFundMe.

“That’s incredible! What a blessing. While some people might have ignored that text or sent a snotty wrong number response back, you and your kids sent a positive message that made her day. God meant that for you,” another social media user said on Facebook.

At the time of writing, more than 1,100 people have raised over $31,000 to cover Kaizler’s medical expenses which has exceeded the family’s $10,000 goal.

“Wow. This is nuts,” Wood said in a video on the Facebook page. “We are very thankful. Obviously, we are very blessed.”

Wood clarified in a video on March 12 that the family does not have thousands of dollars of medical debt but the donations have helped the family alleviate the burden of other expenses incurred as a result of Kaizler’s medical ordeal.

 

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