Television legend and animal activist Betty White was greatly looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday, which would have been today.
The beloved actress told People magazine just last month, “I’m so happy I’m so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age. It’s amazing.”
Unfortunately, Betty never got the chance to celebrate her major milestone birthday: She passed away on December 31, 2021. Her autopsy revealed that she’d had a stroke just a few days before her death.
That only made the news of her death so close to her birthday all the more tragic for her fans and family. But her fans are choosing to celebrate her special day and her spirit by donating to a variety of animal shelters and organizations in her honor.
What is the Betty White Challenge?
The Twitter campaign kicked off on social media as a way to keep Betty’s passion for animals going strong by making $5 donations in her name to various animal rescue shelters, nonprofit organizations, zoos, pet sanctuaries, or any other animal charities of your choice on what would have been her 100th birthday (today).
Even just a few dollars could make all the difference for some organizations.
The challenge quickly gained momentum, as fans and fellow celebrities picked up on the enthusiasm and giving spirit that Betty was so famously known for.
“Make her 100th birthday the moment she deserves,” wrote ABC News and meteorologist Ginger Zee tweeted to her friends and followers.
Betty White was a lifelong animal lover
Betty had grown up with a love for animals, which she attributed to her parents being “genuine animal nuts.”
“I am eternally grateful that they have passed much of that passion on to me,” she said.
Betty loved animals so much that she even entertained the idea of becoming a zookeeper or a forest ranger for a living, but then decided to pursue a career in the entertainment business instead. She spent more than eight decades in television on hit shows such as The Golden Girls, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Hot in Cleveland.
But her love for animals never faded. Betty devoted countless hours of volunteering and donation efforts to caring for animals every chance she got.
Stepping up to the challenge
The Betty White Challenge is off to a great start with donations pouring in and will be going on all day in the golden girl’s memory.