Here’s hoping he’s success-ful! You may know him as Success Kid — that determined tiny tot who took the Internet by storm in one of the most popular memes of all time — but in real life, Sammy Griner is just a normal kid who loves his dad.
The Internet celeb has grown quite a bit since his now-famous photo was taken on the beach in 2007, but his family is using his stardom to help out his sick father, Justin Griner, 39.
Justin is in dire need of a kidney transplant, and his family has created a crowdfund account to help him raise the necessary funds for medical treatment. Their goal is $75,000, and at the time of publication the family has reached more than $30,000.
At first they were hesitant to bring up the meme, wanting the focus to be on Justin, but his wife, Laney Griner, decided that adding more attention to her husband’s condition could only help.
“We are just floored by the reaction,” the Florida resident told BuzzFeed News. “I know Success Kid is a popular meme, but around here he’s just our 8-year-old son, Sam. It’s amazing seeing what broad, worldwide appeal his image has, even so many years later.”
Laney originally posted the image of her son in 2007, but it officially became the “Success Kid” meme in 2010.
“He’s been this meme for as long as he can remember,” Laney continued. “But he gets embarrassed by it plenty, too.”
But his embarrassment won’t stop Sammy from helping out his father.
“His dad is his hero, he’d happily do anything to help him get better,” Laney said.