Two Yukoners’ vacation in Hawaii has taken an unexpected turn, all thanks to a philandering husband, a GoFundMe campaign and a Burberry scarf.
Vanessa Aegirsdottir and Brooke McKenzie live in Whitehorse, but they have a friend in New Jersey named Heather. About a year ago, Heather’s 20-year marriage ended when she discovered that her husband, Joe, had a girlfriend — and his girlfriend was pregnant.
Over the last year, Heather’s been posting about her ordeal online, and Aegirsdottir and McKenzie have been following along.
“Heather is this incredibly articulate, foul-mouthed… kind of girl, which is why I love her,” Aegirsdottir said.
But the other day, Heather posted something so appalling that the two friends couldn’t sit idly by any longer.
Joe had taken Heather’s Burberry scarf. And Heather had seen his pregnant girlfriend wearing it.
“When she saw this mistress wearing it, she hit the roof, which means I hit the roof,” Aegirsdottir said.
According to Aegirsdottir, Heather’s not the type to spend money on herself. She spends all her energy caring for her eight children and her assorted pets — some dogs, cats, fish and a pig.
The Burberry scarf was her one luxury item. So Aegirsdottir and McKenzie decided to take action.
On Monday, from their vacation spot in Maui, they launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $500 — enough to buy Heather a new Burberry scarf.
Within hours, the campaign had gone viral. “We go to the beach. We come home… and then the phone is practically exploding,” Aegirsdottir said.
As of Friday morning, nearly 300 people had donated more than $4,000.
This is not what the two friends were expecting. They launched the campaign mostly as a joke, hoping to make Heather feel better. Now, they’re doing interviews for Jenny McCarthy’s radio show, Us Weekly and Inside Edition.
Why has the campaign done so well?
“Because hell hath no fury,” Aegirsdottir said. “I think we’ve all been screwed over by somebody at some point in our lives.”
It might also have something to do with the way Aegirsdottir and McKenzie pitched their cause, using the “salty language” they say Heather is so fond of.
“Heather spent those years at home raising her wild, wonderful herd of offspring while Joe was out sowing his wild oats with a neighbourhood tart,” they wrote.
“Raising eight kids is expensive and Heather’s a pretty low-key chick who doesn’t fuss over all that fancy shit that some women do. Except for her one treasured designer item — a Burberry scarf.”
Aegirsdottir says Heather reacted well to the campaign, “judging by the fact that on day one when she read the GoFundMe, she literally spit her smoothie all over the office walls.” Joe, apparently, did not.
Heather wrote her own response to her donors on Thursday, thanking them but also asking that all funds be donated to research into diamond blackfan anemia, a rare illness one of her daughters suffers from.
“This is not about a scarf. It’s about having bitches who have got your back. And damn… have I got them!” she wrote.
Reaction to her request was swift and decisive.
“Heather, I respectfully deny your request for the money to be donated. Please, for the love of all that is holy, take whatever money is raised,” one person commented. “Let us lift you up and remind you that you are loved, lovable, and worthy of good things.”
Aegirsdottir and McKenzie have since added a link on their GoFundMe page to another fundraiser they’ve started for the Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation. It had raised $45 as of Friday morning.
But they insist that the $4,000 and counting will go to Heather. They’ll buy her the scarf, and then they plan to fly her to Mexico in the spring for Aegirsdottir’s 40th birthday.
“We’re going to tell her to pack her spare liver,” Aegirsdottir said.
There are those who’ve questioned the merits of a campaign that’s raising money just to buy someone a designer scarf. One commenter said it’s “the most ridiculous campaign I have ever seen.”
But Aegirsdottir doesn’t have much patience for that.
“My mama always told me life ain’t fair,” she said. “There’s no two ways around that. We never set out to create a viral campaign. But this is what people wanted.”
Contact Maura Forrest at email@example.com