Facebook Group Petitions on Behalf of Flight 3407 Buffalo Crash Family

Nearly 60,000 Facebook users have petitioned ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to rebuild the Buffalo home that was ravaged in the crash of Continental Airline's flight 3407.

"Our biggest goal in creating this group was to provide an outlet of support, where everyone could come together to show how much they care," said Jayne O'Connor, 17, who created the group with her sister, Emma, 15, of Amherst. N.Y.

Their parents came up with the television idea, but it was the sisters who suggested Facebook as the most effective way to reach people. They created the Web page called "Let's get Extreme Makeover to Build the Wielinski Family a New Home."

The home of Douglas Wielinski, 61, was struck by a commuter airliner Feb. 12, taking his life and almost that of his wife and one of their four daughters. Karen Wielinski, 57, was at home at the time with the couple's 22-year-old daughter, Jill, but both survived.

The crash took the lives of 49 people who were on the plane.

The home was nearly burned to the ground, and what was left standing endured massive smoke and fire damage. Mother and daughter have been treated for minor burns.

As of Wednesday, the Facebook group had 58,305 members, more than twice as many as another sympathy site, "In Memory of the Victims of Continental Airlines Flight 3407," which had 22,000 members.

'Extreme Makeover' Considers Case

"Extreme Makeover" executive producer Anthony Dominici said the petition was under review, "but we do not comment on casting."

The show, currently in its fifth season, selects "one very rundown house, a deserving family, several opinionated designers" to do a complete renovation.

Regardless of whether it gets the family the help of "Extreme Makeover," the effort illustrates the new power of social networking to galvanize people to help others. With the click of a mouse, users can recommend or join causes promoted by their friends.

"It's not surprising that people are turning to social networking for fundraising," said John Grohol, a Massachusetts online psychologist who runs psychcentral.com.

"Facebook has 150 million users, and has become a significant place for the everyday activities that we engage in within our communities," he told ABCNews.com. "Someone's house burns down -- a church puts together a fundraiser for clothing or food to help a family get back on its feet again."

Facebook Ups Ante on Charity

"Social networking puts that whole concept to another level," Grohol said. "Instead of 100 people in a local community, there are tens of thousands of people to chip in for any kind of disaster or emergency."

Tracy Dedecker of Ontario, Canada, joined the group "Liam Wants to Meet Ellen DeGeneres" to help an 8-year-old boy with leukemia. In nine days, the group had more than 300,000 members.

"There are people all over the world joining every second," she told ABCNews.com. "Facebook is so great and so inspirational when we all get together for a great cause. This group has given me hope for the generous and kind people that we still have in this world."

Dedecker's son is 6 and keeps close tabs on the numbers.

"Every day, he comes home from school and asks me how many people have joined the group and if that is enough for Liam to meet Ellen," Dedecker said. "One of these days I would like to tell him, yes."

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