It’s always nice to see big-name celebrities reaching out to their fans, because it reminds us that though we really only know them through their movies, or television shows, they are real people too, with real hearts. We were reminded of the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s heart last week, when the Terminator star reached out to a terminally-ill fan and offered the man a touching gift. And it happened, as is often the case, because of social media — Reddit, in particular.
The story begins with one Reddit user, Crouser — real name Katie McCaffery — posted on the website’s subreddit for bodybuilding, asking for help. “I’m not one of you, but my brother was,” she wrote, “Can you help me?” McCaffery went on to explain that her brother, 52-year-old Todd, is autistic, and has severe learning disabilities, according to International Business Times. She wrote in her post that Todd fell in love with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies as a young boy, and began to idolize the former body builder. This love for Arnold Schwarzenegger inspired her brother to take up bodybuilding too, despite facing extreme challenges, and physical disabilities.
A young Arnold Schwarzenegger posing pic.twitter.com/nGPcGJ3GDx— Historical Pics (@VeryOldPics) December 16, 2015
“Instead of giving up and letting his life make him blank and sedentary, he decided he would become a ‘bodybuilder.’ He was always lifting and exercising in his spare time, and even with his disability, was always incredibly fit and strong. Even though he can’t read or write past a basic level, he got himself into such good shape and is such a hard worker that he had a full time job.”
McCaffery then says that unfortunately, Todd had to stop working this spring due to a diagnosis with a rare and terminal form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. She said she was reaching out to the Reddit community in an attempt to try and get Arnold Schwarzenegger to send her brother a personalized autographed picture, so she could “see my brother’s face light up on his last Christmas morning.” After several private messages to Schwarzenegger’s account on the social media site, as well as hundreds of tweets to Arnold’s Twitter account, using the hashtag #HelpTodd, Arnold Schwarzenegger himself responded to the Reddit post, less than 24 hours after it was originally written.
“I am still in Europe so I have to say this was an inspiring thing to wake up to. I’ve reached out to Courser but I wanted to let all of you know that you’re amazing. This is the power of [R]eddit to do great things, and I’m proud of all of you, even though you filled my inbox — because you filled my inbox.”
Thanks to the power of social media, Todd will be receiving more than just an autographed picture for Christmas. In a particularly touching part of the gift, on December 11, Schwarzenegger video-called Todd, and told the dying fan that he was Arnold’s hero.
“You’re my hero. This movie stuff is all bulls**t. You and I, we have one thing in common, and that is — we’re both good-looking guys!”
Schwarzenegger even said he will be sending Todd a special care package, reports Tech Times. “He told him to stay strong and keep on battling,” says Katie, “they gave each other a lot of thumbs-ups, it was awesome. He’s overcome already so much in his life, we could not be prouder of him. And if this [meeting with Schwarzenegger] is going to happen to anyone, I am so happy it happened to my brother.”
What could have seemed like no big deal to someone as famous as Arnold Schwarzenegger, turned into a wonderful and touching Christmas gift for a lifelong fan, who needs all the Christmas cheer he can get to keep his spirits up, and keep on fighting.
[Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]