TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Twitter bet turned into big money for a good cause. Former Tampa Bay Lightning player Ryan Callahan never expected nearly $20,000 to be raised overnight for his foundation helping children with cancer.
But that’s exactly what happened when some good-natured trash-talking got going on social media.
It all started with a Tweet from a young Fordham University student betting that the Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov would not be back before the playoffs.
One die-hard Bolts fan took that bet and won when Kucherov returned to play. But instead of paying each other – the two agreed to donate the money to a good cause – the Ryan Callahan foundation that helps children battling cancer and their families.
“Thank you to the Tampa Bay Lightning community,” Callahan said. “You guys supported me for six years playing there. From day one, you cheered me when I got on that ice, so happy to play in front of you guys, you’ve always supported my foundation.”
The twitter bet caught on like wildfire before the Bolts Nation showed up big time, along with fans all throughout the league.
In just over 24 hours, nearly $20,000 was raised.
“I realized early on I was put into a position where I could make a difference, I could impact other people,” Callahan said. “Having kids of our own, I gravitated toward pediatric cancer. That’s where my heart is now. I love helping these kids and these families. They’re such special people.”
Callahan was quick to note that he and others like him are “just an avenue” for positive change.
“This just reminds you of how much people can give and how much love is out there,” he said. “The people that donate, it’s the community helping these families, not us.”
For those who are interested, The Ryan Callahan Foundation is accepting donations.
Callahan told 8 on Your Side every penny collected goes straight to the cause – pediatric patients battling cancer and their families.