Fans of late comedy icon Betty White are planning to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday by organizing mass donations to a cause that was very near and dear to her heart.
“The Betty White Challenge” has been going viral on social media after an account suggested celebrating the late actress and animal rights activist’s life by donating money to animal rescues in her honor on Jan. 17, which would have marked her 100th birthday.
Betty White died Dec. 31 at age 99 due to natural causes, her longtime agent and friend, Jeff Witjas, previously confirmed. At the time, she was gearing up to celebrate hitting triple digits with her friends and fans. Unfortunately, many of those plans had to be amended to honor White’s life in the wake of her death instead.
Last week, a post on the Dogspotting Society’s Facebook suggested that fans of the star honor her on Jan. 17 by donating even a small sum of money to a worthy animal rescue charity in Betty White’s name. The hope is that the influx of donations will help countless animals in the country and possibly around the world find homes and care, which is something White would definitely have wanted.
It didn’t take long before the challenge quickly went viral and was picked up by White’s fans on Twitter and Facebook. On Sunday, American Humane, an organization dedicated to the safety, welfare and well-being of animals, noted on its Twitter that it has already seen an influx of donations ahead of White’s birthday.
“Thank you to all who have donated in memory of #BettyWhite. We are honored to continue Betty’s legacy and make the world a better, kinder place for all animals,” the organization wrote along with a photo of White and her dog, Pontiac.
“I am a confirmed zoophile, and I particularly appreciate the positive changes that have taken place in the whole zoo community over the past few decades, and the critical role they play today in perpetuating endangered species,” White wrote.
White started working with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles as early as the 1940s, when she was in her 20s and continued to be an animal rights advocate until her death. White was involved with the Morris Animal Foundation for 50 years, serving in various roles as a trustee, board president, and spokesperson.