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Jordan Belous is Nae-Naeing to save lives.
Internet users either post videos of themselves dancing to Silento’s “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” and challenge their friends to do the same or donate directly to Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Pediatrics through the Whip Pediatric Cancer website.
“When I first started the campaign, I was hoping to raise a little bit of money for a good cause,” Jordan, of Melville, New York, tells PEOPLE. “Within two weeks our Facebook page had over 2,000 likes! We now have 18,000.”[facebook url="https://www.facebook.com/WhipPediatricCancer/videos/1451566891839467/" /]
Jordan says around 6,000 “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” videos have been made using the group’s official hashtag #WhipPediatricCancer and that people from every state in the U.S. and 47 countries have participated. So far, the teen’s campaign has raised over $19,000 dollars for the Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Department of Pediatrics.
“It’s fantastic that she’s found a way to involve kids in communities from all over the country,” Memorial Sloan Kettering’s program manager Rachel Corke tells PEOPLE. “She’s using something fun and popular to bring crucial awareness and funding to our research. We, as an institution, are incredibly impressed.”
“Kids with pediatric cancer have seen the darkest side of life, and it really just puts everything into perspective,” says Jordan. “I’m guilty of complaining about silly things like hard math or school drama, but this challenge is a way to remind people in a fun way that there are some serious problems out there.”
Jordan came up with the idea for Whip Pediatric Cancer while she was listening to the popular dance song on her iPod over the summer.
“It came on and I thought to myself, ‘There’s got to be something here!’ ” she says. “The song is so popular and beloved, whether you’re eight or 80 – it’s impossible not to dance when it comes on.”
The high school junior told her mother, who battled Ewing sarcoma – a rare bone cancer most commonly found in children – that she wanted to bring awareness to pediatric cancer by using the catchy song.
“Jordan came up with the idea for a social media movement and then she set everything up herself just in time for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month in September,” Jordan’s mother, Victoria Belous, 49, tells PEOPLE. “From there it just exploded.”
The New York mom adds that her daughter started volunteering at children’s cancer centers at a young age and has been passionate about the cause ever since.
“Even when she was a kid, she loved kids,” Belous says with a laugh. “She was never afraid or uncomfortable of seeing a child that didn’t have hair or was sick. Her immediate reaction is to be silly with everyone and make people feel better! Jordan’s just that kind of a person, she’s compassionate and kind.”
At a September Times Square event promoting pediatric cancer awareness, Jordan met Tessa Prothero, a 7-year-old Royal Oak, Michigan, girl with stage-4 neuroblastoma.
“The moment I met Tessa, I knew the Whip Pediatric Cancer movement was making a difference,” says Jordan. “She had the biggest smile and I could tell dancing together made her happy. She’s just a normal girl put in this horrible situation. But she’s so brave, such a hero.”
Tessa’s mother, Karin Prothero, says the compassionate teen has completely turned her daughter’s life around.[facebook url="https://www.facebook.com/WhipPediatricCancer/videos/1495308614131961/" /]
“Jordan and Tessa started doing the whip together in the middle of New York and you could tell they just instantly bonded,” Prothero, 35, tells PEOPLE while fighting back tears. “Tessa absolutely adores her, she has become family to us. This whole movement has brought people together that wouldn’t have otherwise met, it speaks to the power of social media.”
When Tessa and her mother come to New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering for cancer treatments, Jordan visits the family and takes the adoring little girl out to have fun in the city.
“I love Jordan, she is my best friend!” Tessa tells PEOPLE. “We decorate cakes and make jewelry together and take selfies and when we’re not together we FaceTime almost every day.”
Jordan, who plans on pursuing a career as a child life specialist, says that bringing comfort to kids is her greatest joy in life.
“Kids are our future, obviously, so why not do everything in our power to help them?” says the teenager. “Giving someone a little bit of hope, or even just showing you care about them and what they are going through can mean the world to a pediatric cancer patient.”[facebook url="https://www.facebook.com/WhipPediatricCancer/videos/1461419370854219/" /]
“Everyone always talks about the bad things that can come from social media, but look at the good it can do too!” says Jordan. “My idea has spread all over the world because love is international.”
The teen adds, “I’ll never stop trying to end pediatric cancer!”