Stars and fans of The Challenge have been doing what they can to support and assist longtime cast member Nelson Thomas following his horrifying car accident in Texas.
As reported last week, Nelson revealed he was in the accident. However, the car accident was initially reported a week before that on the news without Nelson’s identity given.
At that time, it was revealed NFL star KJ Osborn had been part of a heroic rescue effort to save a man trapped in a burning car.
This past week, Nelson shared the news of his accident with photos of himself in a hospital bed with multiple injuries and a video of his rescue as the car was on fire.
His reveal also included him thanking several individuals, including Osborn, for stopping when they saw his car on fire and pulling him out of the wreck to save his life. He also shared he had a long road to recovery ahead.
Soon after that reveal, Nelson shared more social media posts showing that the Bell family had set up a GoFundMe campaign to help provide financial assistance for his surgeries and medical expenses.
Monsters and Critics reported about Nelson’s GoFundMe for medical assistance, which specified a goal of $200,000 to help him pay his various bills since he indicated he had no health insurance.
His sharing of that link led to several castmates sharing the details with their followers on social media, including Veronica Portillo, who recently reacted to some of the criticism she’d seen about Nelson’s crowdfunding situation.
Veronica shares Nelson’s GoFundMe and fires back at critics
On Thursday, three-time The Challenge winner Veronica Portillo took to Twitter, asking her followers to consider offering help for “one of us.”
“CHALLENGE FANS! One of us needs you! If you can, please consider donating to Nelly’s @_nelsonthomas medical fund,” Veronica wrote in her tweet with the GoFundMe link for Nelson.
Veronica’s tweet received over 490 likes and 40-plus comments, some of which were critical of the reality TV star’s request for help.
One of those comments had a fan or critic suggesting that the “challenge CHAMPS who have high net worths & make more in a single season (without a win) than most ppl make in a year step up & help your friend if he’s hard up for cash …..after his multiple tv appearances.”
Veronica fired back, suggesting that the person’s comment was “harsh,” considering Nelson’s body is broken. She also indicated she thought many Challengers had donated, and if this individual didn’t want to, they should “move along.”
Another tweet criticizing the request mentioned that other people out there need financial assistance who aren’t reality TV stars with “a wide range of influence and support systems.”
“definitely no donation from me,” the individual ended their tweet with.
“Then please consider donating today to one of those people you describe that need assistance & are not television personalities. Once you choose & donate, lmk, & I’ll donate to your choice as well,” Veronica replied.
Several other comments from fans criticized the situation, suggesting that they didn’t think asking for money for Nelson was appropriate.
“Are you telling me he makes no money for his TV appearances? Is he not a grown up with insurance? Get outta here asking everyday Joe’s for money because they’re fans of Nelly,” another individual tweeted.
Veronica addresses the ‘negative response’ to Nelson’s request
Soon after Veronica’s initial tweet about Nelson’s GoFundMe campaign, she fired off another message in which she retweeted a fan who said they were “saddened at the responses” her tweet received.
“Thank you! I don’t think I’ve ever been witness to such a negative response over crowdfunding Tweet for one of our own. I always support my people. I’m truly [mindblown emoji], Veronica tweeted.
Veronica, 45, has won three Challenge seasons. According to her Fandom Wiki listing, she had total winnings from the show of $79,000. She won when the prize money was distributed differently and often in lesser amounts than in the newer seasons, which typically offer a $500,000 to $1 million prize to two winners.
She recently appeared in MTV’s The Challenge: Ride or Dies season, where she was one of the surprise pairs with her teammate, Darrell Taylor. Nelson was one of their castmates during the season before he and his teammate, Nurys Mateo, were eliminated from the game.
Nelson more recently showed up as a cast member in The Challenge: World Championship as one of the MTV Legends who would team up with a global MVP from an international Challenge spinoff show. The 34-year-old reached the final in two MTV seasons and has won over $36,000 in prize money during his time on the series.
The Challenge: World Championship episodes arrive Wednesdays on Paramount+.