When Plano teen Nicole Wilson opened her Christmas presents last year, there was a special surprise: a calendar marked with the date of the August One Direction concert in Dallas. Like most girls her age, she couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. To say she was excited is an understatement.
But Nicole Wilson, 15, won’t be in the stands at AT&T; Stadium come August. She passed away Saturday due to complications from Type I Diabetes.
Monday, after a quickly organized memorial service Sunday that drew friends from across the country, Wilson’s older sister, Kelly, tweeted at the band, using the hashtag #SingForNicole, asking them to dedicate Nicole’s favorite song, “Story of My Life” in her memory in August.
The power of the Internet came out in full force. By Tuesday, the hashtag was the number one trending topic in the United States. Kelly Wilson’s original tweet has been retweeted nearly 6,000 times. A Buzzfeed article, written in support of the online push, reached over 17,000 views by Wednesday. And, most importantly, a GoFundMe created in Nicole Wilson’s honor has gathered nearly $14,000 to send four campers to her summer camp, Camp Sweeney.
“We never expected this to happen, but this is bringing awareness to Type I Diabetes,” Kelly Wilson said. “You can take all the insulin, eat as healthily as you can, and still have complications. You could be the best diabetic out there and still die.”
Strangers from around the world have worked to support Nicole Wilson’s memory by donating and retweeting but Nicole Wilson’s Camp Sweeney quasi-family has brought her story to light.
Camp Sweeney, a Texas camp for young Type I diabetics, provides a support and education group for children starting at age six who’ve been diagnosed.
“We all have one thing in common, we’re all diabetics,” said Justin Vandiver, a SMU junior who attended the camp for six years. “It doesn’t sound like a whole lot but when you’re growing up, it nice to have people going through the same things you are.”
When Vandiver heard Nicole Wilson had passed he joined the Camp Sweeney family in organizing a memorial Sunday night in a neighbor’s front yard.
“We were expecting 20 or 30 people to show up but well over 100 people were there from all over the country to be with her family,” Vandiver said. “We would drop everything, anywhere to help another one of us.”
While still waiting for a response from the band itself, Kelly Wilson is looking towards the future.
“We want to try and make it an annual something, a concert, a run, something in honor of her,” Kelly Wilson said. “I don’t want this to end after her funeral. I want her to be in our hearts forever.”