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Local News

April 17, 2013

Charity turns to tweets to get Ellen's attention

AMESBURY — The late Lucy Grogan loved to laugh. She also had a remarkable gift of taking on difficult situations and turning them around to make them positive. It’s a trait Lucy’s mother, Beecher Grogan, says is shared by internationally known comedian Ellen DeGeneres.

That’s why Grogan, who runs the cancer fundraising charity Lucy’s Love Bus, has begun a Twitter campaign aimed at convincing DeGeneres to feature the charity on her syndicated television talk show.

Last Friday, more than 800 people took part in a 24-hour Tweet-a-thon hoping to virally spread the word. During that time the hashtag #ellenmeetlucy was posted more than 1,000 times and retweeted by famous athletes, actors and musicians.

Hashtags mark key words or topics within the 140-character micro-messages known as tweets. All tweets using a specific hashtag are collected and featured on a single page allowing Twitter users to more easily follow a trending subject.

“The whole idea was getting that (the DeGeneres campaign) trending,” said Northeastern senior Jackie Walker, who took part in the tweet-a-thon in between classes Friday.

Walker, who lives in the Baltimore area, said she was able to convince members of the Baltimore Ravens football team to retweet the hashtag. At the same time, she was paying attention to which famous people were on Twitter that day and sending them tweets, in hopes that they too would send a tweet or retweet the message. Walker scored tweets and retweets by actor Elizabeth Perkins and rapper Wanz of Thrift Shop fame.

The charity, whose goal is to comfort children with cancer through grants for integrative therapies, was founded by Lucy Grogan, who died six years ago of leukemia at age 12, four years after being diagnosed. The charity awards $1,000 grants to children to help pay for therapies such as horseback riding, acupuncture and art and dance, which help children manage side-effects of cancer treatments.

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