Hug Clutch Today Too
The story of Houston's Berry kids — 9-year-old Peter, 8-year-old Aaron and 6-year-old Willa, who were orphaned after a horrific July Fourth weekend car accident that claimed the lives of both their parents — is gaining worldwide attention.
The three children survived the accident in which an SUV veered into the lane the family's van was traveling in and hit it head on, but the kids face a lifetime of struggle. Both boys are now paralyzed from the waist down. Fortunately, Willa survived with only broken bones. The Berrys have been taken in by their aunt and uncle, but the family isn't equipped to handle the lifetime of care.
It's been estimated that it will take between $5 to $10 million to support the children, from medical costs to schooling and everything in between.
Now, Justin Bieber is stepping in to try and help raise the money.
Show Your Hearts is spearheaded by Bieber, with support from celebrities such as Lady Gaga, New Kids on the Block, Ryan Seacrest, Britney Spears and countless others.
Two million people might seem unrealistic to some — until the power of social media is realized. Justin Bieber alone has more than 11 million followers on Twitter.
The campaign encourages supporters to donate a minimum of $10 to receive a special avatar to be displayed on Twitter or Facebook. The avatar features two hands in the shape of a heart — a symbol often used by country star Taylor Swift.
By having the avatar take over social media, along with a corresponding hashtag "#showyourhearts," the campaign hopes to raise awareness for the Berry kids and encourage donations to the Joshua and Robin Berry Children's Trust. Every dollar will reportedly go towards Peter, Aaron and Willa's physical and psychological rehabilitation, education and overall living expenses.
Braun mentioned on The Bert Show that if two million people donate $5 each (You can go without Starbucks for one afternoon, right?) enough money will easily be raised to support the children.
Two million people might seem unrealistic to some — until the power of social media is realized. Justin Bieber alone has more than 11 million followers on Twitter. More celebrities are joining in the love fest, including Desperate HousewivesNicole Scherzinger, NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco, Mike Tyson, ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews and Sean Combs (formerly known as Diddy). If this group's more than eight million combined followers don't help up the ante, then just wait for the word to continue to spread.
On the local front, the Houston Rockets are starting a "10,000 Hugs-to-Help" campaign to benefit Peter, Aaron and Willa Berry.
The campaign, which kicks off at 2 p.m. Wednesday with a public event at the main entrance of the Toyota Center, will allow Houstonians to hug the team's lovable and cuddly mascot Clutch in exchange for a donation to the Berry kids' fund. New Rockets coach Kevin McHale will be appearing at this afternoon's debut event.
Clutch is already scheduled to appear at several events in the coming weeks where he will be available for hugs, and the mascot can also be scheduled for special hugging appearances.
"This is truly a heartbreaking situation that has left three beautiful children of our community without their parents,” Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said in a statement. “Our entire Houston Rockets organization sends condolences to the Berry family for the tragic loss of Joshua and Robin. We are committed to assisting the various fundraising efforts."
Word has spread rapidly about the plight of the Berrys, and shortly after the accident they were visited by numerous sports figures while staying at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital. The two boys have recently been transferred to Shriner's Oak Park Hospital in Chicago, where they will stay for six to eight weeks, accompanied by their aunt and uncle, while Willa stays home in Houston with close family friends.