This (Not Potato Salad) Is What Crowdfunding Is For

Sometimes, it's just so amazing what 1,000 strangers can do.

Student loan debt is a nightmare for so many young adults, but that's nothing compared to the personal nightmare Cassie Wessely had to live through. 

The teen was getting set to start at Vanderbilt University last year when her mom committed suicide just three weeks before school started. Already reeling, Wessely had another seemingly insurmountable obstacle in front of her.

Without living under her mom's residential custody, Wessely lost her financial aid. And her father had lost his job, putting him in no position to help Wessely. 

Even with savings, a scholarship and a loan, Wessely was short $24,000 to start her sophomore year. She decided to look online for help.

"It is extremely difficult for me to request help, but more bearable than the thought of losing a dream I worked and continue to work so hard for," Wessely wrote on GoFundMe. "I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering in the hopes of contributing to major medical advancements. I will be eternally grateful if through your contributions I can still make this happen. I’m praying daily for a miracle."

One miracle, coming up. 

More than 1,000 people have donated $46,000-plus to Wessely's tuition fund so far. Consider this a much better use of your money than funding potato salad

The donations come with notes like "From one Vanderbilt alum to a future Vanderbilt alum :-)" and "I am a student with financial struggles as well and understand the hardship of that alone. But, the other triumphs you have accomplished are inspirational."

Wessely knows she can go back to school this year, and she's nothing short of bowled over from the support she received. 

"I am so blessed, amazed, and grateful to each and every one of you for supporting me and allowing me to continue at this wonderful institution," she posted. "Thank you so so so much. I promise you that I will work hard, and I will be paying it forward in the future."

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