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Jake Humphrey and the #ninefornorah campaign

Varinder Dhinsa

Social media companies have been widely criticised in recent weeks, but a chance encounter at Wembley led to BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey backing a couple’s social campaign to raise money in memory of their daughter Norah.

Even in tragedy, there can be light, Ross and Naomi Coniam understand that better than most. The couple lost their new-born baby girl Norah last year, merely nine hours and 56 minutes after she was born. But they have somehow taken that pain and turned it into something powerful.

Seven months after Norah’s passing, Ross began a fundraiser in Norah’s name, raising money in aid of the stillbirth charities that have helped them so much in recent months. He decided to task himself with accomplishing nine challenges over the course of 2019, under hashtag #nine4norah. There is no doubt that with support of friends and family, Ross would have achieved his target and raised a great deal of money for these important causes, creating an impressive legacy for Norah.

But the story doesn’t end here.

Enter sports presenter Jake Humphrey. Ross, who is a Watford fan, was at the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, when Humphrey spotted him in the crowd, and was caught by the message written on the back of his sweatshirt.

He later researched the hashtag and found the fundraiser page that Ross had set up, talking about his #nine4norah campaign. Humphrey later tweeted about the hashtag, about Ross and his fundraising, offering his condolences and best wishes to Ross in his endeavour, whilst also pledging his own money.

His three simple tweets raised the donation total from £3,058 to £6,000 that night alone, meeting Ross’s original target. Fast forward 24 hours and the total currently stands at £25,208 after an outpouring of support from the public, who don’t know the family but are motivated to act because they found out about the campaign by means of social media.

Humphrey’s tweets show how social media, when harnessed by a single, emotionally-led goal, has the power to make huge changes through mass mobilisation.

The #nine4norah fundraiser has quadrupled its target in under three days and is still growing. And not only did it get huge traction on social media, it’s become one of the biggest news headlines of the day. In a world which is more cynical and polarised than ever, it’s important to remember that being connected can also bring out the best in us.