The Aftermath of Going “Viral” on TikTok (and Saving Someone’s Life)

My Internal Struggle After Saving a Man's Life from Cancer on TikTok

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
TikTok Saved My Life | Viral TikTok Video Cancer Alex Griswold

I shouldn’t feel this way.

The fact that I am even saying this right now makes me feel horrible.

But, it’s been super frustrating what’s been taking place in my own mind.

Ever since I tipped TikTok user Alex Griswold off that he was developing skin cancer I felt this warm fuzzy feeling inside.

I didn’t do it for clout.

I didn’t do it for pride.

I didn’t do it for any “fame” or notoriety.

I did it because I had gone through it myself, and when I saw his mole, I knew he was in grave danger.

When he sent me updates and asking me questions, I felt like my heart swelling. <3

When his video went viral on TikTok with millions of views, I felt so amazing because like I told Alex on the phone… We probably saved hundreds from skin cancer who looked and got checked after…

Alex tagged me in a comment on his viral video saying “thank you” to me and the second stranger who tipped him off after me.

She’s also had a precancerous mole removed and told him he needed to get checked.

I responded to his comment excited – her and I basically gave a virtual high five…

Then I shared his video on my TikTok and that I was one of the strangers who tipped him off and showing people my scar and to get checked

I got HUNDREDS of new followers and people saying “thank you for saving Alex’s life”

It felt good…

I never knew he would make a video about it and it would go viral on NBC, Good Morning America, or Inside Edition.

Inside Edition did a Feature Story on the incident.

But then the feelings changed.

He reached out to me, said NBC wanted my info for the article, which I sent.

Then he told me that other media outlets were picking up the story.

I was like… Oh, my goodness what is about to happen. I even sat my family down and gave them “the talk” that we might have media showing up to the house to do an interview, and everyone was so excited.

When the episodes aired and articles came out.

I wasn’t even mentioned.

At first I was like, oh well, no biggie, not what I cared about.

I get it, the media likes a good story, and here’s Lizzie Wells, she’s a 23 year old med student.

They sent out the camera crews and interviewed her and this is really something special for her.

Lizzie Wells, interviewed on Inside Edition (the other stranger)

That is very cool to be recognized.

Inside, my ego was bruised – I was coming from a place of “what about me?” Attitude.

Then when the inside edition came out, it literally had the title “Man says he owes his life to stranger 2,000 miles away” and continues to interview her…

My heart sank, I mean I’m not discounting anything she did, because obviously we both reached out…

But a part of me wanted to be mentioned…

To get some credit…

I realized at that moment, I was in a dark place.

I was sour.

Then to make things worse, people started commenting on my video after the TV segments aired that I was a “Liar” and that they “saw the real person who saved his life on TV”


I deleted dozens of comments like that and even almost deleted the video all together.

Then, this weekend, I had a moment or reflection.

What was this inside me causing this?

Did I not help save a life?

Did I not potentially saved hundreds of lives?

If I didn’t do it for “clout”…

Why am I so bothered about not getting recognized for it!?!?

Hah, what selfish creatures we humans are.

Today on a podcast interview, I shared this story with Peter King …

And made me realize just how grateful I am.

And how many people do amazing things for others everyday and go unrecognized.

That’s what makes you good.

To serve, to contribute, and not expect a damn thing.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    The Big Ordeal: Understanding and Managing the Psychological Turmoil of Cancer

    by Cynthia Hayes

    “Diversity is extremely important.” With Ben Ari & Alex Sampson

    by Ben Ari

    #MeToo The Real Reason Why I Left Engineering

    by Clare Josa
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.