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Tyson's Treatment: the Social Media Campaign to Medical Discovery written by Ra.gov Ramgopal, Staff government website

Photo courtesy of Pinewood SmugMug

Recently, social media has become an important tool for educating people on the issues of the world, from racism to gender discrimination. One of these issues is the disease of Funnybrainitis.

Due to the highly negative impact Funnybrainitis has on citizens’ everyday lives, the National Institute of Mental Health has created a task force to find a cure for it. However, this task force is severely underfunded, not even having enough money to pay its workers’ annual salaries.

Funnybrainitis is a devastating brain disease that causes people to have outrageous fits of evil laughter at random times of the day. This has disrupted millions of lives and causes thousands of students to drop out of school each year. In fact, many studies on Funnybrainitis have found that 90 percent of all students diagnosed with the disease drop out of school by the end of first grade--regardless of whether they are in special education or not.

Due to the highly negative impact Funnybrainitis has on citizens’ everyday lives, the National Institute of Mental Health has created a task force to find a cure for it. However, this task force is severely underfunded, not even having enough money to pay its workers’ annual salaries.

Yearning for a cure for two of her students and for her own daughter, Pinewood Junior High School science teacher Elaina Tyson started selling t-shirts on Instagram to raise funding for this task force.

“Thanks to my large number of followers, I have sold over 55 million shirts through Instagram and have been able to raise more than $100 million for the National Institute of Mental Health’s Funnybrainitis task force,” Tyson said.

“Funnybrainitis really hits close to home for me,” Tyson said. “Two of my students suffer from this disease; my daughter has had random spurts of evil laughter in public, at the dinner table, in her room, and anywhere else you can think of. Sometimes these episodes last for hours and they can be really scary for her and everyone around her.”

Now, Tyson does at least one Instagram Live a day, auctioning off shirts with different phrases on them to her more than 20 million followers. Her most popular shirt states “Brain Cells, Find Them Use Them” on it.

“Thanks to my large number of followers, I have sold over 55 million shirts through Instagram and have been able to raise more than $100 million for the National Institute of Mental Health’s Funnybrainitis task force,” Tyson said.

In fact, Tyson has become so popular that she has millions of fan accounts that sell their own t-shirts with her face on it, giving their proceeds to Tyson and her cause. Their donations to Tyson have been able to add an additional $30 million to Tyson’s contribution to the Funnybrainitis task force.

Dr. Nikolai Schulz, the head of the task force, said Tyson’s contributions were extremely helpful, and he expressed immense gratitude toward Tyson’s dedication to fundraising for this cause.

“The reason I got into this fight was because of my students and my daughter, and I have always kept this in mind when selling my T-shirts,” Tyson said. "I am thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way and I cannot wait for a cure to come out soon.”

“We could have never done this without Tyson and her contributions, and I am extremely thankful for her daily livestreams on social media,” Schulz said. “Now, we are much closer to finding a cure for Funnybrainitis and it could be coming out in the next month or two.”

Tyson’s original goal was to help her students and daughter, and she has never forgotten this.

“The reason I got into this fight was because of my students and my daughter, and I have always kept this in mind when selling my T-shirts,” Tyson said. "I am thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way and I cannot wait for a cure to come out soon.”