Since officially launching Edythe’s 105th Birthday Challenge exactly one year ago, Direct Relief’s beloved volunteer of 40 years has inspired the world in ways never imagined.
Edythe’s 105th birthday wish was to encourage others to make a difference, as she has, by raising awareness for Direct Relief and it’s mission to improve the health and lives of people in need.
To honor Edythe and celebrate her milestone birthday, Direct Relief created a Facebook application that allowed people to wish Edythe a happy birthday by lighting a candle on her virtual cake. The goal was to generate 105,000 birthday wishes via a Facebook application, equating to 105,000 Facebook fans of Direct Relief’s Facebook page, making Edythe’s 105th birthday wish come true.
With help from appearances on Access Hollywood, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, as well as stories from reporters around the world, and individual Facebook users from dozens of countries who were compelled to share her message with their fans, Edythe’s birthday was truly the “birthday wish heard around the world.”
Starting with just over 7,500 fans, Edythe hit her goal of 105,000 on March 10, 2013 and then surpassed her goal by tens of thousands. Now nearly 130,000 people are fans of Direct Relief’s page. Additionally, Edythe, who was declared the oldest registered Facebook user in the world, has a personal page with more than 46,000 followers.
Beyond Facebook likes, Edythe has received feedback from people who said they were inspired to learn to drive, to volunteer, to donate to a cause, to think positive, and many, many other things in her honor. Edythe will likely never know just how many people she has touched.
Despite all the fanfare she’s received in the last year, Edythe has continued to volunteer weekly at Direct Relief with her fellow volunteers, hand-writing thank you letters to donors every Tuesday.