A YouTube star is helping raise money for the father of Tyler and Charlee Worley, the young children killed Nov. 17 in Darlington.
Philip DeFranco, who has more than 4,900,000 subscribers on the social media site, promoted a GoFundMe page for his fan Jason Worley on Monday’s episode of his video blog.
The crowdfunding campaign stood at $51,475 by Wednesday afternoon and was still growing. DeFranco helped double in a matter of hours the funds that were raised in nine days.
That far surpasses the $20,000 goal Worley’s boss set when launching the page Nov. 18 to help cover funeral and living expenses.
A day earlier, a Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy found the bodies of Tyler, 7, and Charlee, 3, in Charlee’s bedroom.
The children’s mother has pleaded not guilty to murder in connection with the deaths.
Soon after the incident, Worley reached out to DeFranco through the social media platform Reddit, where DeFranco is also popular.
Worley wrote that his children also watched DeFranco’s videos, with Charlee a fan of DeFranco’s 2-year-old son, Trey.
“Everytime [sic] Charlee saw Trey she would point and say ‘Baby!’ and watch Trey’s every move,” Worley wrote.
“Any kind words you can offer would be greatly appreciated,” he continued. “Hold Trey close, he is ever so special.”
DeFranco’s fans drew his attention to news coverage of the incident and the GoFundMe page.
“Two innocent children were killed, their futures stolen by the person that gave them life,” DeFranco said in the video. “So much love was just ripped from Jason’s life.”
DeFranco encouraged viewers to contribute to or share the GoFundMe campaign.
Fans went to the page expressing condolences.
“I can’t afford to donate, but I have shared,” Elizabeth Clark wrote. “... I wish you all the love and comfort in the world.”
Brian Bewley, president of Danville, Indiana-based digital services company Stratusi — who started the campaign — said he was “amazed” by the video’s impact.
“While I was watching, actually, my phone just started going berserk with notifications from GoFundMe,” Bewley said.
On Tuesday’s video blog episode, DeFranco thanked fans for their support.
“Obviously, money is not going to fix Jason’s life,” he said. “But, hopefully this makes it easier to give [him] time to recover as much as [he] potentially can.”
Even before DeFranco’s plug, Bewley said donations were coming in from Sweden, Ireland, Canada and England.
As of Wednesday morning, nearly 2,700 people had donated over 11 days.
To contribute, visit gofundme.com/tyler-charlee-worley-fund.