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The Day Our Lives Went Viral

Here we put together two of the case studies featured in Woman’s Own lifestyle piece about women who’ve experienced the whirlwind craziness of ‘going viral’ – 15 minutes of fame around the world. 

Firstly we have Boudicca, from Cardiff, who’s innocently generous idea to help out a struggling family in her area led to her being interviewed for Australian TV, then we have Charlene, who’s First Dance during her wedding to hubby Nathan was so emotional it had thousands of hits on YouTube and led to Nathan appearing on Strictly Come Dancing…
Incredible stories – no wonder they went global. You can read all about them by clicking through to the full stories:

Going Viral – life choices
Bou, 28, placed a charitable ad on Gumtree that touched hearts across the world…
“With three children under the age of four, I wanted to do something to help other mums in my area who were struggling to make ends meet as I knew how lucky my husband and I were to be able to feed our kids every day.
One evening, my husband was out, my kids were in bed… so I wrote an advert for Gumtree.
“Free home cooked meal for struggling family…” I wrote. I explained that I just wanted to help another mum out. I was expecting maybe one person to get in touch.
Within two days I was inundated with people telling me what a lovely idea it was. Then my local radio station called. I was nervous but my sister said I had to do it, so I was interviewed.
Then more radio stations, then The One Show wanted to do a documentary about who I was helping – it was crazy. Even Alan Titmarsh’s show called! Every time I called my husband to tell him who was calling next he’d just laugh in disbelief: who wants you now?
I did a live link with Australia Breakfast and an interview with the Sunday Times. People were tweeting about me constantly.
After a week I took the advert down – the attention was overwhelming and it wasn’t why I’d done it – I just wanted to find someone locally I could help.
People do charitable things all the time, I have no idea why my ad went viral. The attention was nerve wracking but I enjoyed the experience and used it to my advantage, setting up a charity, One Meal At A Time, helping disadvantaged families feed themselves.
I help two families myself now and I’m working with a food bank to replicate the business model so other people can do it too. Social media definitely can make the world a better place!
Charlene, 27, had a first dance with her husband that was so moving it got him a place on Strictly!
When I first met Nathan, I didn’t even notice that he was a double amputee. It didn’t matter to me – I was attracted to his personality, his determination and his kindness.
He’d tried to jump onto a train when he was nine years old. It had gone horribly wrong and he’d had both legs amputated.
He’d never let it stop him, breaking sporting records in javelin, discus and shot-put by the time he was 16.
Four years ago, when we met, Nathan told me he wanted to compete gold at the Paralympics. I supported him every step of the way.
While we were at the Paralympics 2012, Nathan proposed. We started planning our August 2013 wedding.
Nathan wanted to dance the First Dance with me… but he was always in a wheelchair. His prosthetic legs were too painful.
For eight months, we practised in secret at home.
Dancing to ‘I won’t give up’ by Jason Mraz on our wedding day made me so proud. It was the first time Nathan had ever danced in public, standing up.
Someone filmed us and the video was put on YouTube – so friends who had missed our day could see us dance.
But the internet had other ideas!
The video had thousands of hits, Twitter went crazy, international newspapers picked the story up – our phone rang off the hook! Even the guy who sang the song tweeted us.
And after Strictly Come Dancing bosses saw the video, Nathan was asked to appear on a Sport Relief special.
Nathan was nervous saying yes to Strictly, because he knew how much pain his prosthetics caused him. Three minutes dancing at our wedding was excruciating. But I convinced him to go for it – it was such a good cause. We visited an expert who padded the legs with silicone to stop them rubbing.
He was partnered with Strictly pro, Iveta Lukosiute, and spent seven days practising.
On the night, I watched my husband dance to Katy Perry’s Firework and cried with pride.
The Strictly experience gave Nathan such a confidence boost. He’s on his legs more often and feels like he could achieve anything. Handy as he’s training for Rio now!
The attention was fun, but the important thing for me was that Nathan always thought he couldn’t dance and he proved himself wrong. He made our wedding day perfect. The country embraced Nathan and he saw I wasn’t the only one who believed in him.