Paula Freitag took a break from cleaning a cute cabin overlooking Mackenzie Beach to gather her thoughts and reflect on the intensity of the past few hours. She was overwhelmed with joy by quick response to her GoFundMe campaign requesting donations to help her buy a wig, after her hair fell out over the past year.
“I had to work at 10, and I uploaded it at like 9:52,” she said, as she watched the tiny organized waves break in an A-frame pattern. “I think I got my first donation by 9:59 from someone I met in Hawaii.”
Right off the bat someone had pitched in $50.
“It’s just so crazy,” she said. “I was so shakey and my heart was running — you know, like bouncing.”
She says it’s the start of a new chapter. She’s been blown away by the reception to the #hair4her campaign she launched less than 24 hours ago.
The idea of the project is simple: to raise money for a high quality wig she can wear with pride.
The GoFundMe page, launched the morning of Nov. 29 — aka Giving Tuesday — is a celebration of who she is becoming. It’s a chance for the 20-year-old German woman to reach out to offer support and tell her story. It wasn’t easy to put up, but already the results have begun to speak for themselves.
GoFundMe is considered the world’s most popular fundraising platform for personal causes and life events, raising more than $840 million so far.
By the afternoon Hair for Her had been picked up as a “Trending” campaign by the site, having raised $455 of her $900 goal.
It’s not just that people have been reaching into their wallets to pitch in to help, but people have dug into their memory banks to offer support. That’s what’s made the biggest impact.
“Now if you see my phone you’ll see tons of messages,” she said. “I don’t even know what to say. I’m so thankful.”
That includes a former classmate who reminded her of the time they both cut off a piece of their hair and traded each other. He still has a piece of it saved to this day. There are others who shared stories about their own journeys, whether that’s to do with losing hair or facing other challenges.
“I can’t believe I’m getting so much love and support from people,” she said. “I’m like so freaked out. What’s going on!?”
It was never about money. For awhile she balked at the idea of starting a fundraising campaign because she wanted the campaign to be about more than just getting a wig. And now that the donations have started rolling in Paula wants to make sure it’s the start of something bigger.
“I’m so glad I did that,” she said. “And I get so many interesting stories back.”
What those frequencies of positive energy will turn into, she isn’t quite sure of yet. But for now she’s revelling in the pure excitement.