The Betty White challenge: one life lost acts as a catalyst for the saving of many

Kyra Abbott ‘24, Student Life Editor 

As most are likely already aware, actress and legend Betty White passed away on Dec. 31, 2021, shortly before she would have turned 100 years old. White was not only known for her trailblazing career as an actress, but also for her love and compassion towards animals. People, a digital magazine, said, “Throughout her career, White supported numerous animal welfare and conservation efforts—even assisting with a sea otter surgery.”

Soon after her death, her legacy of loving animals became very apparent in the eyes of her fans; there had been a social media post—no one knows by whom—titled #BettyWhiteChallenge. Spectrum News said, “The challenge [encouraged] people to donate $5 to any local or national animal shelter, rescue, or agency in Betty White’s name before or on her birthday.” The online challenge went viral and received monumental support. As Monday, Jan. 17 approached, White’s fans took on the challenge in her honor. CNET News reported that animal organizations have seen a significant number of donations arriving in White’s name. White’s heart and spirit has shown to live on through all of the donations and support that animal organizations are receiving from all over the world.

All of the donations that came pouring into the various organizations proved to save and change the lives of many animals. For instance, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo (GLAZ) “received 2,117 donations totaling $94,297 in White’s honor,” CNET News said. It is no surprise that the zoo was one of the most popular organizations people donated to. GLAZ was one of the many animal organizations that White left her mark at; according to CNET News, she “was involved with [the zoo] since it opened in 1966, sat on its board of trustees, appeared in a TV special about the zoo, and wrote a book benefiting the zoo.”

White was also known to show her support over the years to an organization called the Best Friends Animal Society. The organization was able to take in $340,000 because of the challenge; the donations will go towards saving the lives of homeless animals by providing the medical attention that they need and deserve. The organization said, “We are so thankful for everything she has done for animals, and we are so grateful for all who are donating to help save them all.” 

Many other organizations received generous donations that were able to provide expensive animal medical treatments, necessary items like food and bedding, and even shelter renovations. White has left a profound legacy—one that is even impacting the lives of animals. 

Betty White, thank you for being a friend to all, but especially the four-legged.

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