Success Kid is an Internet meme featuring a baby clenching a fistful of sand, with a determined look on his face. It began in 2007 and eventually became known as “Success Kid”.
The meme originated in 2007, after Laney Griner uploaded to Flickr a photograph of her son Sammy trying to eat sand. The meme gained initial popularity captioned “I Hate Sandcastles”, suggesting that the boy had just destroyed another child’s sandcastle. Eventually the interpretation of the image shifted, focusing on the boy’s facial expression and clenched fist as a gesture of self-congratulation, adding captions that boasted of small personal victories and good fortune. The popularity of the image led CNN to describe Sammy Griner, the boy depicted in the photo, as “likely the Internet’s most famous baby“. In addition to popular use on social media, the image has been licensed for commercial use, and was used by the White House to promote immigration reform.
Shortly before Sammy Griner’s birth, his father Justin was diagnosed with kidney failure, for which he received dialysis for four hours per session, three days a week. In April 2015, Laney Griner launched a GoFundMe campaign, hoping to raise $75,000 to help pay for his medical care and an eventual kidney transplant. She was initially reluctant to associate the campaign with the “Success Kid” meme, wishing for it to focus on her husband’s medical need, but changed her mind, and in the first five days it received donations of nearly $9,000 from 300 people. The campaign was linked to on the website Reddit, bringing the total to more than $83,000 in a few days. The total raised eventually exceeded $100,000 from over 4800 donors. The story was picked up by several news media outlets, including ABC News, CNN, BuzzFeed, and Time, The Huffington Post, and others.
In August 2015 ABC News reported that Justin had received a transplant, was doing well post surgery, and was recovering at home.