GoFundMe Heroes celebrates the everyday people who do extraordinary things on GoFundMe.
It all started when the dog ate his hearing aid.
10-year-old Braden Baker has worn hearing aids since he was three months old. Each device costs over $3,000 and isn’t covered by insurance, so when his family dog chewed one up in the middle of the night, it was no small matter. Braden’s mom, Ashley, had a chat with him about gratitude — to understand that they could afford the replacement, but many families can’t.
Braden couldn’t stop thinking about what his mom told him. It just seemed so unfair that other kids couldn’t afford to hear, so he decided to do something about it. That’s when he started his GoFundMe.
Braden may have hearing loss, but he’s not about to let that get in his way. He skateboards, wakesurfs, and can solve any of his 20 Rubik’s cubes in less than 30 seconds—sometimes while wakesurfing.
He also loves to make videos with his friends and older brother, Christopher. So when he started a GoFundMe to help other kids afford hearing aids, he knew that a video would be the perfect way to spread the word.
That night before bed, Ashley helped Braden share the video on social media with a link to his campaign. They never expected how their friends and neighbors would respond.
“When we woke up, we already had $500!” says Braden. “Later that day, we reached $1,000. We were just shocked. We thought it would take a lot longer to get that much.”
It quickly became clear to Braden that he could raise his initial goal of $1,000 to the cost of a full hearing aid—around $3,000. Donations kept rolling in, and he edged closer and closer to his new goal.
Meanwhile, the manufacturer of Braden’s hearing aids found his video and reached out. They wanted to see how they could help. In fact, they had their own nonprofit arm that gives hearing aids to people locally and around the world—would Braden want their help to achieve his mission?
Fast forward three weeks and several excited video updates later, the GoFundMe had raised over $11,000! In addition to donations, Braden and Ashley were amazed by the support that flooded in from the community.
“One of the coolest things has been the people who left comments to Braden,” says Ashley. “There was even a little girl who sent in a picture of her with her pink hearing aids. It’s been amazing to me the mothers who have reached out, too. A lot of people didn’t know that hearing aids aren’t covered by insurance.”
Encouraged by the enthusiasm his campaign received, Braden announced in a new video that he wants to keep things rolling and help more kids get hearing aids for as long as he can.
Two weeks ago, Braden and Ashley flew to the hearing aid foundation’s headquarters in New Jersey, where they presented a big GoFundMe check totaling $15,000. Some of the proceeds have already gone to sending hearing aid batteries and supplies to Hurricane Harvey victims. Soon, Braden will also have the privilege of presenting a girl in his city her new hearing aids—paid for with funds from his GoFundMe.
Braden’s not sure yet what the future holds for him or his mission, but he certainly hopes that he gets to help more kids be able to hear.
He also had some advice for other campaign organizers: “Don’t give up! Any small idea can get really big.”
If Braden’s story inspires you, please 👏🏽 and share.
Special thanks to Braden, Ashley, and the whole Baker clan.