There’s nothing a good parent loves more than their child’s success. Especially if that success comes from hard work and passion. Ellis Hill is no exception.
Father of Olympic athlete Darrell Hill, Ellis was overjoyed to hear the news of his son’s acceptance to the Olympic shot put team. Travelling to Rio to cheer Darrell on in person didn’t even cross his mind. Ellis was content simply to watch from home and bask in the joy of Darrell’s accomplishment.
Little did Ellis know that a great opportunity was coming his way. Like any proud parent, Ellis could not help but go on and on about his son to anyone who would listen — especially the passengers in the backseat of his Uber. One such passenger was Liz Willock, a medical professional so moved by Ellis’ story she became determined to get Ellis to Brazil to see his son compete.
Willock started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the travel expenses Ellis himself could not afford. Before long, the fundraiser had far exceeded the $7,500 needed to send Ellis to Rio. Willock used her “professional connections and experience” to spread word of the campaign, which — when combined with the inherently moving nature of the Hill story — became a runaway success. Writes Eric March in Upworthy:
Willock credits the efforts of dozens of strangers for helping make the fundraiser a success, including a United Airlines pilot who donated airline miles to cover Ellis’ flight to Brazil and the family of Joe Kovacs, Darrell’s teammate, who were the first to donate and plan to meet Ellis when he arrives in the city.
The success of Willock’s campaign gave Hill the means he needed to travel outside the country for the very first time. More importantly, it allowed a father to be with his son on what will likely be the biggest day of the young man’s life.
Were it not for the collective efforts of countless strangers, this Olympic family reunion could not have been possible. Willock’s GoFundMe demonstrates that everyone appreciates hard work and wants to see it rewarded. And just as athletes train endlessly to perfect their physical and technical abilities, so too do parents put in constant effort to ensure their children succeed.
Ellis was more than happy just to see his son’s efforts recognized. For all his work raising Darrell to be a strong, hard-working young man, Ellis neither asked for nor expected any reward. But thousands of complete strangers disagreed. Thousands of strangers felt that Ellis deserved to see the fruits of his successful parenting in person instead of on a screen thousands of miles away. And thanks to the kindness of thousands of strangers, Ellis will be in Rio cheering Darrell on to even greater victories.
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