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The 'blinking guy' uses his meme fame to do good, raising money for multiple sclerosis research

The 'blinking guy' uses his meme fame to do good, raising money for multiple sclerosis research

'If a fraction of those who have seen my goofy face donated to MS research, I have a feeling we could kick this thing in no time,' he said.

In 2013, video editor and podcaster Drew Scanlon was participating in a gaming livestream named "Unprofessional Fridays" when his colleague, Jeff Gerstmann, dropped a crude joke about farming. Scanlon did a double take as Gerstmann nonchalantly carried on, unaware that this reaction would soon shoot him to internet fame as the "blinking white guy." Since then, Scanlon's face has been circulating on online forums as memes and gifs with people using his famous facial expression to represent their own incredulity whenever the situation called for it.



 

Addressing his unexpected rise to fame, Scanlon told reporters: "It's kind of fun to see that, but it's also a little bit overwhelming. At a certain point, you realize that it's completely out of your control and that you don't have any say in how it is used and by whom. And, you know, it's your face—that's pretty closely tied to your identity." However, Scanlon is determined to rewrite the narrative of the meme that has entertained us for years. According to The Associated Press, he has been putting his internet fame to good use, using it to solicit donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to aid with research and advocacy for the disease.

"Hi Internet! I'm Drew and THIS IS MY FACE," Scanlon tweeted Monday. "If this GIF has ever brought you joy in the past, I humbly ask you to consider making a donation to the National MS Society. It would mean a lot to me and to those I know affected by the disease."



 

The 35-year-old has so far raised more than $75,000, breaking his previous record of nearly $34,000 from when he first used the meme to fundraise in 2019. From 2016 to 2021, Scanlon is said to have raised more than $154,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He shared more about the initiative on the fundraising website, explaining that two of his friends—and members of their families—are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, also known as MS. "Greetings, Internet! If you've come here from the Greater World Wide Web and don't know me personally, chances are good that you've seen my face. That's right, it's me, the world's go-to animated GIF for expressing incredulity: the Blinking Guy," Scanlon wrote.



 

"I'm not usually one to toot my own meme horn but in this case, I'll make an exception. You see, two close friends of mine and members of their families suffer from MS, a debilitating disease of the central nervous system that interrupts communication between the brain and the body. Millions of people suffer from MS and there is no known cure. This is where you come in," he continued. "Since 2016, I've participated in Bike MS, a fundraising ride of over 120 MILES from San Francisco to wine country. Donations help fund multiple sclerosis research as well as programs and services that ensure people affected by MS can live their best lives. If a fraction of those who have seen my goofy face donated to MS research, I have a feeling we could kick this thing in no time!"

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