What do you do when life gives you a second chance? Cause leader Melanie Hubert faced that question after living through a tragic episode. Last year, Melanie tried to take her own life, a decision fueled by emotional and physical distress that had developed over the last few years. “I overdosed and came really close to dying. I was semi-conscious throughout the whole ordeal and I remember doctors telling my mom I wasn’t going to make it. I was very lucky I did.” To Melanie’s dismay, her best friend took his own life a few months later. It was a heartbreaking blow, but Melanie decided she needed to do something to help.
Melanie loves the hit television show “Glee” and is a big fan of actress Dianna Agron. “The Glee community in Canada, and I think globally, is close, and we all support each other.” In November of 2011, Melanie created a Twitter handle dedicated to Dianna: @GottaMeetDianna. Melanie knew Dianna was an advocate for teen bullying support groups and mental illness support groups, and she wanted to find others to share stories. “I also created the Twitter account to thank her for saving my life.” After a few weeks, Melanie accumulated 2,000 Twitter followers. Then there were 10,000 followers. Melanie thought, “What do I do with all of these people?”Melanie began researching teen suicide. “I found ridiculous statistics about kids who are in the LGBTQ community and killing themselves because they are being bullied, and they don’t have anyone to turn to. I’m not gay, but I’ve been there. Some times you want to kill yourself, but you really just want somebody to say ‘everything is going to be OK.’” What transpired was a blend of creativity and inspired action. “I sent The Trevor Project a tweet and said I wanted to set up a fundraiser.” Without hesitation, Digital Marketing Manager for TTP, Ryan Lombardini wrote her back and said the best option to launch her campaign was Causes.com.
In a few days, Melanie raised $100: after two weeks, $500. “When it got to $500 I realized we could really make a difference in helping teens.” She raised her goal from $500 to $1,500, not knowing what would transpire. Then, a Twitter follower tweeted to Dianna Agron about Melanie’s fundraiser and her action campaign soared. “I remember being upset because I didn’t want Dianna to know, but then I began getting all of these cellphone updates, texts, and tweets. I didn’t know what was going on.” Dianna Agron had written a blog post in response to Melanie’s fundraising drive, relaying to her fans that she would match the final amount dollar for dollar. Within four hours of publishing, Melanie’s fundraiser broke past $6,000.
On April 30, Dianna Agron celebrated her 26th birthday and Melanie’s campaign soared to the heights of $12,875. The young woman who almost lost her life had now energized a community and raised over $25,000 to help fund life-saving support services to thousands of at-risk youth. “I absolutely did not expect to raise that much. I’m really humbled and proud of everyone who participated by donating or by simply passing the word along.” Melanie hopes to create another fundraising drive with The Trevor Project in the near future. We can’t wait to tell you about it.