“We Are Number One” Meme Helps Actor Battle Cancer

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The year of 2016 was filled with celebrity deaths, a presidential election, odd trends, and ridiculous memes. Yes, 2016 certainly was strange, but there are a few redeeming factors that are bound to make anyone feel a little better about the world, and they’re found in the most unexpected places.

One example of this is the late year meme that sparked up suddenly on the Internet, the infamous “We Are Number One” song from Lazytown being played and dabbled with in countless ways. “It started to pop up around two months ago,” said sophomore Russell Kovalik. “Very annoying and overused, as most modern memes are.”

Most people have heard of this random Internet meme somehow somewhere, but what makes it different is the touching backstory behind it. The meme gained popularity sometime in November to raise money for actor Stephán Karl Stefánsson who plays as the villain Robbie Rotten in the old children’s show “Lazytown.” In October 2016, Stefánsson was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and later became too sick to work. The support on the Internet blew up for him after the successful and sudden popularity of his song “We Are Number One,” which raised more than $100,000 on GoFundMe to treat his cancer.

There hasn’t been any frequent updates, but the creator of the fundraiser, Mark Valenti, says that Stefánsson had just gone through a major surgery paid for by the money raised and was now onto the road to recovery. Stefánsson himself made a video in mid-December of him and the rest of the actors from the song singing “We Are Number One” as a thank you to those who contributed to the fund. The video went live on Reddit on December 12 and thus far has more than a million views.

The lesson of the story? Good things can come from the most unexpected places. Even stupid Internet memes.