A Minnesota veteran’s offer to sell or trade his hearing aids to help pay for a wheelchair-accessible van has gone viral, resulting in a communitywide spaghetti fundraiser and a GoFundMe page that’s gone viral.
Gilbert Hoppe, who first made his request back in April, said he’s surprised by the attention that his post has received.
The post showed a photo of the 75-year-old's hearing aids along with a handwritten note that read, “Pair of hearing aids. For sale or trade for a good vehicle.” Initially some users mocked his request, while others questioned whether it was for real.
“The worst was probably the one that called him an idiot and said he couldn’t sell those hearing aids,” Kristi Bighley, who saw Hoppe’s post, told Kare 11. “Obviously that person didn’t put himself in Gilbert’s shoes.”
Hoppe, who served in the Army from 1962 to 1966, is battling cancer for a second time, while also caring for his wife who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and has difficulty breathing.
Hoppe said his son is now shuttling the pair back and forth to appointments.
Bighley, along with two others, reached out to Gilbert about his post and asked if he would be willing to accept their help. With his blessing, they set up a GoFundMe page and organized a fundraiser with karaoke and spaghetti.
“It surprised me at first,” Gilbert told the StarTribune. “I felt glad that people wanted to help me.”
The GoFundMe page has raised more than $22,000 of the $30,000 goal, and the fundraiser, which was hosted at an American Legion in Eagle Lake, raised a few thousand more.
“I am so happy that we were able to do this simple act of kindness,” Christina Anderson, one of the organizers, told the news outlet. “It just makes you feel good at the end of the day knowing that you helped someone else out.”