Terminally ill six-year-old raises two million euros for charity with nail-painting challenge

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte opted for a deep blue varnish, while other people queued outside a radio studio to ask the boy to personally paint their nails

Charlotte England
Sunday 25 December 2016 16:13
Dutch radio DJ's and 6-year-old Tijn Kolsteren show the combined total amount of money (8,744,131 euros) they raised
Dutch radio DJ's and 6-year-old Tijn Kolsteren show the combined total amount of money (8,744,131 euros) they raised

A terminally ill six-year-old has raised more than 2.5 million Euros (£2.1m) for charity by daring people in the Netherlands to paint their nails.

Tijn Kolsteren, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in May, hoped to raise a few hundred Euros for other unwell children with the challenge.

But the appeal, which ran for three days and ended on Saturday, caught the public imagination.

Tijn, who has been told he is unlikely to live for more than a year, said as part of his bucket list he wants to help as many other children as possible.

He appeared on a Dutch radio programme with his father, Gerrit Kolsteren, and asked people to get their nails painted and give money to his donation page.

“With his nail-painting dare he wanted to help children suffering from pneumonia,” the Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported. “It was an enormous success – from DJ Armin van Buuren to prime minister Mark Rutte, and many other famous celebrities had their nails painted [sic].”

The donation page urged people: “Paint your nails, make a donation and then challenge three of your friends to do the same.”

It invited participants to share their pictures on social media using the hashtag #lakaan (meaning “the polish is on”). By Thursday, #lakaan and #heelhollandlakt (all of Holland paints) were trending on Twitter.

3FM’s Serious Request is a radio programme which raises money for different causes every year. It’s currently in its 12th year and is raising money for the Red Cross’s fight against pneumonia.

During the appeal, two DJs live in a ‘glass house’ for six days with no food.

Mr Rutte joined the DJs late on Friday and opted for a deep blue for his own nails. Other people lined up outside the studio to ask Tijn to paint their nails personally.

Tijn’s family learned last week that a course of chemotherapy had failed to reduce the size of his cancer.

“Despite this bad news, we wanted to do something for children who won’t maybe even make it to six,” Mr Kolsteren told NOS.

“We came up with the idea together: Tijn had already painted his nails with a friend and liked it. I wanted to do something similar to the ice bucket challenge and men painting their nails is a bit taboo,” he added, referring to the internet craze that raised money and awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The Dutch media has hailed the boy as a hero, with the tabloid newspaper AD putting a picture of him dressed as a superhero under the headline “SuperTijn” on the front of its Friday edition.

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