On May 16 around 6 p.m., I posted a short little video of Ruby on Instagram. She was answering some silly questions that our friends had asked her, like, “what’s your favorite animal?” “Who is your favorite person?” and “do you like squirrels?” I thought it was adorable and it might bring a smile to a few people’s faces.
Ok guys! Here’s round two of your Q&A with Ruby. We both had a blast doing this and I was very pleasantly surprised by some of her answers. ? Please remember that everyone has their own unique ideas, dreams and abilities! Next time you see someone with a disability, speak to them directly. You never know what they might have to say! #kidssaythedarndestthings #kidsofinstagram #qanda #askruby #disabilityawareness #disabilityisnotinability #personfirst #specialneedskids #specialneedsmom #ilovehersomuch @laurenpuncochar @sjodisneygirl @fidget6934 @unicornlover_55 @sam.98x @rocker21211
I woke up the next morning and casually checked my Instagram….and I saw that the video had gotten more than 21,000 views overnight! I was completely blown away. Little did I know, this was just the beginning! I checked again around noon and the number had soared to nearly 70,000 and I had gone from 700 followers to about 1,500. Over the next three days, that video would be viewed more than half a million times and we would get 14K new followers!
I received countless messages from people telling me that Ruby had brought them incredible joy, made them smile for the first time in a long time, or just letting me know that she was a blessing and a miracle! Out of all the comments, there were about 20 negative ones, which I promptly deleted. It was truly amazing.
I was blown away by how much Ruby was touching people’s lives. And though I was scared that there would be more negative comments, I knew that something really special and important was happening here — Ruby was shining her bright, beautiful light into the dark corners of the world! And it was my job to spread it everywhere I could.
When people reached out to us, they asked if there was anything they could do for Ruby. They wanted to send her gifts and money. I had an idea — what if I could harness all of this positive attention into something really amazing for Ruby? And the idea of starting a Go Fund Me for a service dog was born! I had always wanted to get Ruby a service dog, but the fees for some of them are pretty crazy and most require a couple of weeks at a training camp, so I kept putting it off. Now that our beloved dog Stella is 12 years old, I felt like it was the perfect time to set the wheels in motion. I set up the page on May 18 with a goal of $15,000, thinking that it would take months to raise that much money. In the mean time, I would put in applications for various service dog agencies. By that evening, we had already raised $800. I could not believe it! But just like the Instagram post, things kept getting crazier. By May 22, we had raised more than $15,000! I was in complete disbelief and so very grateful for all of the love and support we had received!
On Monday morning, May 22, I received an email that Ruby’s story had been featured in The City Pages. I could not hold back my tears as I read the article — it perfectly captured the essence of Ruby’s personality and the special bond we share.
In Lakeville, Minnesota, Angela Ardolf’s daughter likes Frozen, dislikes squirrels, goes viral [VIDEO] | City Pages
These are some good answers.
Something told me that this story was worth sharing even wider, so I contacted WCCO and asked if they would be interested in meeting Ruby. On Tuesday morning, May 23 at 11:00 a.m., I received a call from reporter Kate Raddatz that she wanted to do an interview with me and Ruby…that day! EEEK! My mom rushed over and helped me get my house camera ready and we had so much fun hanging with Kate and her amazing photographer Melissa Martz. They made us feel so comfortable during the interview process!
We had a super fun day being interviewed for a news story about Ruby’s insta fame. Ruby was a star and Stella made a few appearances! We also played some of the videos you’ve sent us to get Ruby giggling! ?? #disability #disabilityawareness #inclusion #morealikethandifferent #spreadinglove #instafamous #weloveourfollowers #raredisease #raregem #howdidigetsolucky #blessed
Kate let me know on Wednesday morning that the story would air that night, so I quickly assembled some of our closest friends and had a little viewing party! Ruby had so much fun seeing herself on TV!
I figured things were going to finally settle down a bit and we would return to our new normal of Ruby spreading her love and joy all over Instagram. However, on Friday, Love What Matters contacted me and asked if I would be willing to share Ruby’s video on their Facebook page, which has 6.8 MILLION followers. I thought long and hard about this….did we want to keep going with all of this exposure? My heart said yes…this was exactly what we were supposed to do. The post went live on Friday around 6 p.m. and in a few minutes had already been viewed a few thousand times. I had a blast on Friday night reading and responding to all of the lovely comments, which are so full of love for Ruby! As I’m writing this, the post has 951k likes and nearly 1,300 shares!
People on Facebook started reaching out to me, asking if I had a Facebook page for Ruby. Because I had absolutely NOT prepared for her video to go viral, I hadn’t created any other pages for her. I quickly pulled together a Facebook page and shared a few of her Instagram posts there.
I also quickly cleaned up this blog, which has been sitting dormant for far too long. I had always wanted to get back to writing about Ruby, but life has gotten in the way. Now I know that I don’t have an excuse! I MUST share our journey with the world. Since you’re here, please take a minute to read our About page. It will really help you to understand more about Ruby and how we have gotten to this amazing place.
Today just happens to be my birthday and I am sitting here reflecting on all of the amazing miracles that have transpired in our lives. Ruby is healthy, happy and spreading her love and joy far and wide. We have overcome so many challenges over the years and I feel like these moments of serendipity and bliss are the sweetest gift I could ever receive.
Angie and Ruby