A terminally ill Dutch six-year-old, who hoped to raise a few hundred euros for other sick children by daring people to paint their nails in garish colours, had raised more than 1.27 million euros (S$1.92 million) by Friday (Dec 23).
Tijn Kolsteren, who was diagnosed with brain stem cancer (DIPG) in May, launched the appeal only two days ago but it has quickly fired the imagination of the Dutch public who had donated more than 1.27 million euros at the last count.
“Paint your nails, make a donation and then challenge three of your friends to do the same,” dares the donation page, which invites participants to share their pictures on social media using the hashtag #lakaan (meaning “the polish is on”).
“Most poor children diagnosed with pneumonia don’t live until the age of five,” said the young boy on the site. “That’s why we have to put up a fight.”
Celebrities, politicians, presenters and actors have been among thousands of people who have posted pictures of their painted nails online.
Although Tijn’s cancer was diagnosed on May, it was only last week that his family learned that a course of chemotherapy had failed to reduce its size.
“Despite this bad news, we wanted to do something for children who won’t maybe even make it to six,” his father Gerrit told public television channel NOS.
“We came up with the idea together: Tijn had already painted his nails with a friend and liked it. I wanted to do something similar to the Ice Bucket challenge and men painting their nails is a bit taboo,” he added, referring to the internet craze that raised millions.
The Dutch press hailed the boy as a hero, with the tabloid AD putting a picture of him dressed as a superhero under the headline “SuperTijn”.