The nation has been mourning the loss of beloved actress Betty White since she passed away on Dec. 31. In a newly released video taken before her death, White gave the love back to her fans.
“As we continue to see numbers coming in from all over the world — it’s just absolutely amazing how much money all of you raised for the animals through #thebettywhitechallenge,” Mikelas wrote. “She could never have imagined such an outpouring of love and would have [been] so grateful to everyone.
“When we recorded her special message to fans who attended the movie, we also recorded one that we had planned to put on social media on her birthday. She was using the occasion of her 100th birthday to celebrate YOU — her fans.”
In the video, White thanked her fans for “the love and support over the years” and encouraged them to “stick around.”
“She knew how lucky she was; she felt the love, and she never took it for granted,” Mikelas continued in the post. “I think it’s appropriate to post today as a thank [you] from Betty and the animals.”
After White’s death, a trend called the #BettyWhiteChallenge began to circulate on social media.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the challenge asked social media users to give $5 to a local animal rescue or shelter of their choice in White’s name before what would have been her 100th birthday on Jan. 17, 2022.
Employees of animal agencies around the country told the Journal how they had benefited from the challenge. American Humane spokesperson Mark Stubis said donations had quadrupled in the ensuing three weeks.
“There could be no more perfect time and way to honor the legacy of Betty White,” Stubis said.
Meanwhile, Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association president Tom Jacobson said the Los Angeles Zoo had received almost $95,000 from the social media challenge.
White was a longtime animal rights supporter, the Journal reported. She served as a board member for American Humane and supported the Los Angeles Zoo throughout her career.
In the video, White was wearing the same outfit she was in a previous picture posted by Mikelas on Jan. 17 in honor of White’s centennial birthday.
“On this special day, I wanted to share this photo of Betty,” Mikelas wrote at the time. “It was taken on 12/20/21. I believe it’s one of the last photos of her.”
According to the Mail, White’s longtime friend and agent Jeff Witjas said she was quietly laid to rest on Jan. 5.
“The arrangements are being handled privately and that was Betty’s wish,” Witjas said. “As in life, she never wanted people to make a fuss over her.”
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