- A New York City man who became a meme in 2017, when he was recorded giving a thumbs down at a Yankees game, has raised more than $3,900 to cover medical bills after he suffered a burst varicose vein.
- Gary Dunaier, aka “Thumbs Down Guy,” told USA Today on Wednesday that “the outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming.”
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A New York City man who became a meme in 2017, after he was caught on camera giving the thumbs down gesture at a Yankees game, has raised more than $3,900 to cover his medical bills.
Gary Dunaier, 56, started a GoFundMe page to cover his medical bills after he had a five-day stay in the hospital last month when a varicose vein burst and he nearly died.
Dunaier used his celebrity as “Thumbs Down Guy” to raise the money, and it worked – nearly doubling his initial goal of $2,000.
On the GoFundMe page, Dunaier says the hospital stay coupled with the follow-up visits, which have caused him to miss work, have exacerbated his debt, which he said exceeds $30,000.
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“You might be surprised to learn that to this day, I’ve never been able to grasp how big Thumbs Down is and what it means to people. Maybe it’s because I’m in the center of the whirlwind; I don’t know…But now I need your help,” he wrote on the page.
Following the campaign’s success, Dunaier spoke to USA Today, saying the “outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming.”
— Gary Dunaier (Thumbs Down Guy) (@GaryDunaier) June 17, 2019
“I can’t find the words to say just how much it all means to me,” he said.
Dunaier became a viral sensation when he attended a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field in September 2017. While the Yankees usually play at their own stadium in the Bronx, the game had been relocated from Florida to Citi Field in Queens, the home stadium of the New York Mets, because of a hurricane.
Dunaier, a Mets fan, was captured on stadium footage giving the thumbs down gesture after a three-run home run by Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier. The image went viral and became somewhat of a Yankees rallying call as they progressed to post-season play, with players using the gesture after pivotal runs.
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