It took two tweets and three days for Deron Winn to change an Iowa family’s life.
While scrolling through Twitter, lifelong wrestler turned UFC middleweight Deron Winn stumbled across a post that stole all his attention.
“The more I got to looking at his profile I could tell that the kid was special in some way to him, so I tweeted at him,” Winn said. “I was like, ‘Bruce, I know I don’t know you but sometimes a picture can say 1,000 words.’ Basically, if he ever wants to bring Kinnick out to California to train at DC’s academy, I’ll cover the camp charges.”
Was it the words? Was it the picture? Was it the mystery of how the post was on his feed to begin with? It was all three.
Winn was immediately motivated to not only tweet well wishes to Dall but act further than that immediately. Winn didn’t just want Bruce and Kinnick to come out for a free lesson, he wanted the entire trip paid for.
As rare as you may think Winn’s actions are, a flood of like-minded people poured into his DMs and phone. He was far from the only one who wanted Bruce and Kinnick to have the experience of a lifetime.
Bruce, I don’t know you but sometimes a picture can say a thousand words. Please bring your boy out to Cali this summer to one of our camps. I’d love to help you grow to understand the sport better and help Kinnick improve his skills. I’ll cover camp fees! Let’s get in touch! https://t.co/A8Io21vhWc— Deron Winn (@DeronWinn) January 15, 2022
“I’ve never done a GoFundMe, but I’ve seen it work in miraculous ways, so I figured, maybe I’ll just start it and it’ll help them out.” Winn explained. “Dude, the GoFundMe is already full and so many people, privately, are like, ‘Whatever else you need, let me know.’ I had one dude reach out to me like, ‘Hey, what’re their flights going to be? I’ll cover their entire flight.’ I’ve had multiple people reach out and be like, ‘Whatever balance you have left over, let me know and I’ll cover it.’ It’s been pretty extraordinary, man.”
The GoFundMe spread like wildfire. In three days, Winn was over the $7,500 goal which would be more than enough for Bruce and his miracle child, Kinnick, to go on a trip rooted in wrestling but open for so much more.
“They’re going to get their flights paid for, their hotel, spending money, their camp; we were going to wipe the camp fee anyways,” Winn said. “I want them to have the whole experience out here. We’re so close to Santa Cruz and Monterey and stuff like going to the Santa Cruz boardwalk and Kinnick can play a bunch of games and do all types of stuff like the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I just want it to be a really, really fun trip.”
Hey guys, I'm raising money for Help bring Kinnick & Bruce to our wrestling academy. This story got so much traction and I’m so inspired to help. Thanks for all the love. This summer will be epic! I am attaching story as well. https://t.co/mMd1x0EnaH #GoFundMe— Deron Winn (@DeronWinn) January 18, 2022
At six years old, it’s hard to say just how much wrestling Kinnick will retain on the trip.
He could turn around and never put the singlet on again after the trip. The $7,500 investment by Winn and all the donors could be for Kinnick to go to the last training camp of his life. Did that possibility enter Winn’s mind? If it did, it went straight to the “don’t care” file.
“If Kinnick wants to go and play another sport, good on him,” Winn said. “For a sport that’s shown me so much that I love and I’ve had a chance to meet some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, I just want to show it all to him. If he does leave, I want to show him that there are great things about this sport. If he doesn’t wrestle again, one thing he will do, one thing that this sport will do is instill some qualities or skills that he’ll carry the rest of his life and I know that he’ll always respect this sport regardless of if he quits or not. Helping people is never a waste of time. He could leave and never wrestle again but I want to create this opportunity for him.”
The money is in the bank and now it’s just a matter of when to book it. It won’t just be a convenient or random week. Winn promises to not only give Kinnick the vacation of a lifetime but also the camp of a lifetime.
He could always change his mind and never wrestle again, as there are plenty of options still on the table when you’re in kindergarten, but if he doesn’t, AKA may just be creating the next Khabib Nurmagomedov.