SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – A popular Utah based Tik Toker managed to rack up $212k on a single live stream, garnering attention even from celebrities, to raise funds for the American Heart Association.
JT Laybourne first started his influencing journey on instagram being best known for golfing trickshots. But as time went on, Tik Tok became his other passion, it became a space where he could be ‘himself’ and allow others to join him in his vulnerability.
Since then, Laybourne has been spreading positivity across the app through fun lip syncs, dances, and skits. But one of the major things he’s spreading is recognition for the American Heart Association (AHA).
On February 5, Laybourne teamed up with the American Heart Association and other fellow creators to do a livestream and hopefully raise enough funds for the organization.
Laybourne tells ABC4 he has a deep connection with AHA; undergoing two open heart surgeries throughout his life, starting at the young age of 4.
“I just had open-heart surgery in May, and the American Heart Association is something I feel strongly about,” Laybourne shares. “So I asked them if there’s something more I could do and since COVID-19 canceled all their fundraising events for the year, they asked if I wanted to raise any money for them.”
Laybourne shares that he and his team managed to raise nearly $600,000 over the course of a couple of months primarily through the support of the TikTok community.
“Tik Tok has a reputation of teenagers dancing but there’s more to that…It has more value than most would like to recognize it for,” JT shares.
According to the American Heart Association, they are blown away by the response of the Tik Tok community and truly appreciate the strides JT and his team took on, especially amidst a raging pandemic.
“We are truly blown away. Like many people, and organizations, it’s been a difficult year. All of our in-person fundraisers have been canceled and we’ve encountered a huge funding gap. JT and his friends took a challenging time and turned it into an opportunity,” AHA tells ABC4. “With heart disease being the #1 killer in the world, the need is urgent. Babies are still being born with congenital heart defects, COVID has caused an increase in a sedentary lifestyle, and a woman loses her life every 80 seconds from cardiovascular disease. It’s happening to our mothers, brothers, children, and friends.”
The American Heart Association gives thanks to JT Laybourne and his team with a self-made Tik Tok video.
According to Jen Waite, AHA’s national Lead, JT and Brooklyn Laybourne, Ed and Taylor Delmore, and Dan and Kellie Henry have all contributed to a never before seen movement on Tik Tok.
“JT has started a truly inspiring movement on TikTok to impact and save lives. We are seeing countless people create videos with the donate sticker and have lives with donations as well. This community is all in on saving lives and making a positive impact,” Waite shares.
Laybourne says many were able to collaborate during his stream, including Andy Grammer, Wayne brady, and even AJ Mclean from the Backstreet boys.
“In a world that tends to be divided, It’s refreshing to see that when we have a common goal, we truly are capable of unbelievable things, and Tik Tok has provided that community,” JT adds.
In the creative team’s last live stream on February 5, the American Heart Association managed to raise $212k.
“It’s been an honor to be apart of Tik Tok, this community, and to be apart of the AHA,” JT concludes.
The American Heart Association is a nonprofit organization in the United States that funds cardiovascular medical research, educates consumers on healthy living, and fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.
According to the AHA website, for nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke and helping families and communities thrive.
JT Laybourne gives special thanks to his teammates, Brooklyn Laybourne, Ed and Taylor Delmore, and Dan and Kellie Henry for all the passion, drive, and commitment given toward their goal.