Teen Bullied as 'Fat Whale' Now Raising Cash for Whales

'I can take someone's hate and use it to spread love': 16-year-old Dee McMillan
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2016 11:23 AM CDT
Teen Bullied as 'Fat Whale' Now Raising Cash for Whales
Dee McMillan turned her bully's words around for good.   (GoFundMe)

When Dannie "Dee" McMillan first started noticing odd looks and snickers in the hallways of her Texas high school, she wasn't sure what was going on, the New York Daily News reports. But the 16-year-old's friends soon started sending her screenshots of a Twitter page that horrified her: It was called "Dee's a fat whale," and it featured a header photo of her powerlifting team, but with an image of a whale superimposed over her face. It was created by a cyberbully who quickly spread word about the page via social media, humiliating Dee, WGN reports. "It was awful, the shame and [embarrassment] I felt," she writes on GoFundMe. "I left school right away and went home where I locked myself in my room and cried for hours. … I was destroyed."

But Dee didn't stay holed up for long: Thanks to encouraging words from her sister, friends, and plus-size model Laura Lee, Dee decided to empower herself, and a worthy organization, instead. She designed a T-shirt she's selling on Booster for $20 a pop, with each shirt reading "Dee the Fat Whale Saves the Whales." All money raised—and she's racked up more than $5,000 already via shirt sales on Booster and crowdfunding on GoFundMe—will go toward Save the Whales, a nonprofit that educates the public about marine life and preservation. "This project means so much to me because while I can help make a difference in the oceans I can also set an example for other victims of bullying," she writes on GoFundMe. "I can take someone's hate and use it to spread love." Even model Lee is impressed with Dee's determination. "So happy she took this negative act and turned it into something Amazing! Love not hate! Keep Shining Mama!" Lee wrote on Facebook. (A popular singer doesn't put up with fat-shamers.)

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