One of the BEST ways to help a friend in medical crisis.

helping friend in medical crisis


As I’ve helped spread the word about crowd-sourcing fundraiser platform, GiveForward, I’ve heard a few different sources of tension.  Sure, we all want to help our friends and family in time of need, but when you start talking dollars and cents, an uncomfortable air fills the room.  Money is complicated, and even when we know a loved one needs it…and potentially a lot of it…we get a little warm under the collar.

After all, we wouldn’t want to offend them.  Sure, we want to help, but gosh, we don’t want them to be upset and feel like a charity case.  Besides, we don’t even know how much they even need (and goodness we’re not about to ask!  That’s personal!), and really, what if it’s a flop?  What if we don’t raise much?  What if no one donates?  Won’t that make them feel even worse?

Actually, let’s stick to a casserole.

But the thing is, it shouldn’t be uncomfortable.  And I truly believe this is one of those Life Things where What We Think, isn’t really How It Is.

I thought that perhaps the best way to get to the human heart behind this would be to ask Vanessa Hart.  If you remember, she wrote a brililant series on childhood cancer for us.  Her family was also the beneficiary of a GiveForward fundraiser a few years ago.

Here’s what Vanessa had to say about her experience with GiveForward:



Tell us a little about why a GiveForward fundraiser was initiated for you?

My son Brock was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 11 months old. During his first round of chemo, he had some very serious complications that caused him to have to stay in the hospital for 4.5 months. When he finally came home, he had a feeding tube, was on IV medication 6 hours a day, and had regressed to the point where he couldn’t roll over, crawl, talk, or eat. And he still had 3 years of chemo to complete. It was a long (expensive) road.

Without asking for specifics, can you give us a sense of the financial burden your family was facing during this medical crisis? 
Unless you’ve experienced a medical crisis firsthand, you probably don’t know how overwhelmingly expensive it is. We had to pay our maximum out of pocket expenses each year ($5,000 x 3 years), plus the cost of things that weren’t covered by insurance like formula for his tube feeding ($200/month), compounded chemo medications, speech and physical therapy. And of course there are other non-medical expenses like gas for driving back and forth to the hospital, the oncology clinic, the therapists appointments; the extra expense of eating at the hospital; cost of childcare for other children. The first two years of treatment we ended up paying around $10,000 each year.
Wow, that’s a lot of money!  Did you not have insurance? 
Yep, it’s a lot of money. And yes, we had (good) insurance. But even with good insurance, you have to hit your maximum out of pocket expenses before they start paying a higher percentage of the bill. Plus, like I mentioned, there are plenty of things that “good” insurance doesn’t cover like tube feedings and compounded medication and therapy. Brock took one drug for the whole 3.5 years he was on treatment. A really really important drug that literally kept him alive. It cost $785 every two weeks. With our insurance, we had to pay that money up front for the drug, and then wait to get reimbursed by the insurance company. That means I needed to have $1500 extra in the bank each month so that I could get the drug, and wait for the reimbursement check.
Who started the GiveForward fundraiser for you?  Did you know it was being organized or was it a surprise?
My sister started the GiveForward fundraiser for me. I knew she was organizing it. There’s not much organizing to it, though. In just a couple of clicks, the whole thing was set up. And then she went to work posting it on Brock’s Facebook page to get the word out.
What was your initial reaction to the idea that people were donating money to YOU and YOUR FAMILY directly?
I think a lot of people are worried about starting a fundraiser for someone because they’re afraid it will offend the person. Like it will make them feel like a charity case. I did not AT ALL feel like a charity case. I wasn’t offended. I was so completely overwhelmed with gratitude that 1) someone understood how financially devastated we were; and 2) took the initiative to do something about it. So my initial reaction was deep and utter gratitude.
A common concern for those wanting to help friends financially is that they might offend them.  What would you say to that?
I know dozens of families whose lives have been affected by cancer and not a single one of them would be offended if someone offered to help them financially. Not one. Listen, life is hard, and medical crisis is harder, and sometimes we just need help. There’s nothing shameful about that. There’s nothing to be offended over. Please don’t let that be the reason you don’t help someone. I PROMISE they won’t be offended.
How much money was raised during your campaign, in how long?
Brock’s GiveForward fundraiser raised $11,545 in 10 weeks.
 Was it easy to get the money to you?
Yep. One day a check just showed up in the mail. Easy Peasy.
What would you say to someone considering using GiveForward?
If you know someone experiencing a medical crisis, please please be that friend that steps up to help them out. GiveForward has made it so simple. It’s easy to set up a fundraiser, they give you ideas and tips on how to promote it, and at the end of it, the check goes straight to the recipient. I promise you the recipient will be grateful beyond measure. You will not offend them. You will lighten their burden in a tangible, meaningful way.
Anything else you’d like to add?
 You didn’t ask this, but I wanted to say something about don’t feel like you have to raise a ton of money. Maybe someone needs an ipad for their non-verbal child so they can learn to communicate in new ways. Great. Start a GiveForward. Maybe they have to drive to dialysis every week. Start a GF for just $500 to help pay for gas. It doesn’t have to be a $10,000 fundraiser to be worthwhile. Every penny helps.  Literally.
* * * *
So there you have it.
Don’t be bogged down by the fact that it’s money and be afraid to help in this way.  Plus, I really believe that people are desperate to help in a tangible way.  Be the friend who facilitates that.

Win a Trip for Mom

Anyone who donated $20 or more to any fundraiser between now and May 8th will be entered to win $10,000 toward the trip of a lifetime!  For mamas who sleep several days on those awful chair/bed things in hospitals, a paid for vacation would be INCREDIBLE.
So let’s review:
1) Don’t be scared to start a GiveForward fundraiser.
2) Enter the Mother’s Day vacation giveaway.
Disclosure: I am a brand ambassador for GiveForward.  All opinions are mine and I cannot express how much I love not only this company, its mission, but also the incredible people who work there.  You cannot go wrong with GiveForward.  Promise.
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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1
    Leucadia Chiropractor says:

    Nice article. Most of the time, money is a sensitive topic even to those who are friends. GiveForward did a great job. I want to know more of Vanessa Hart’s works, can you tell me where I read her stories?