When a community or group of friends bands together to help one another, miracles happen. There is nothing more humbling than seeing a community take time of their own to help a friend or community member in need. The more people there are, the bigger difference they can make. There are hundreds of success stories of lymphoma patients needing funds for support and being welcomed into their community with open arms. Here are some of those stories.
A 5-year-old, free spirited, sprightly boy, Fletcher was a typical kid, running tirelessly around the playground for hours. Fletcher, normally a ball of energy, started to take on some concerning symptoms such as lethargy, fatigue, and bruising easily. His father also noted that his skin was starting to develop red spots, an unusual symptom coupled with the others. Fletcher was scheduled to have his tonsils removed, so they went to the hospital for preliminary blood work, to which they noticed an alarmingly low platelet count.
It was less than 24 hours after that Fletcher was diagnosed with lymphoma in his blood and bones. With everything happening so quickly, Fletcher's parents were caught off-guard with the expenses and how rapidly the cancer was spreading; at one point, Fletcher's bone marrow was 90 percent cancer cells. Fletcher’s parents, inundated with medical bills and desperate to help their son, started a GoFundMe page to raise money for medical expense. To date, Fletcher's campaign has raised over $37,000 of their $50,000 goal, and have been able to be there and support their son the entire time.
Fletcher is scheduled to undergo his last round of treatment, and his parents are hopeful that his bloodwork will remain normal so Fletcher can focus on being a kid.
Kyle helped people for a living. He helped people dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues. As a social worker, Kyle has dedicated his life to helping the less fortunate, and people struggling in different aspects of their life. A social person himself, it’s no wonder he went into “social” work. Kyle was a young professional, about to begin a new journey in his career when his health started to cause problems. Being a young, healthy individual, the symptoms he was having weren’t matching up.
Kyle began to feel tired with no energy to do the things he enjoys, like yoga, baking, traveling, and seeing live music. He was also riddled with stomach issues that he could never get under control. After being misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, and acid reflux – he felt as if the problems were just something he was going to have to deal with. Just when Kyle was beginning to lose hope, he noticed some alarming changes in his bowel movements and yellowing in his eyes; it was then that Kyle decided to head to the emergency room.
Kyle had an ultrasound and a CT scan and waiting anxiously for the results. When he heard he had a golf ball sized lump near his gallbladder and pancreas, he was both relieved and frightened. Relieved to have answers but terrified at the thought of cancer. After a biopsy, Kyles official diagnosis was high-grade B-cell, non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Unable to work and undergo rigorous treatment, Kyle looked to the internet, friends, family, and his community for support.
Kyle set up a GoFundMe page and since its unveil, has received almost $10,000 in donations. Kyle has been able to pay his living expenses during treatment and is finished with chemotherapy. Kyle has been given the all-clear and is currently in remission, thanks to his team of doctors and the GoFundMe community of supporters.
A musician by blood, Lance has been a musician for all of his life. He has touched the lives of many individuals with his kind spirit, his music, and his love of the music industry. Lance is a father and was diagnosed just after Father’s Day, with the news that changed his life forever. Lance went to the doctor to have a checkup done on swollen lymph node that wouldn’t seem to go down. During the checkup, the nurse was having difficulty hearing one of his lungs. Concerned, they told him to head over to the emergency room to have an x-ray to rule out anything major.
After an x-ray, doctors noticed that his left lung was almost completely full of fluid; so full in fact, that it had pushed his entire heart to the other side of his chest. After 10lbs of fluid was drained from his lung, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s follicular lymphoma. Although the prognosis for Lance is good, his hospital stay, testing, treatments, and follow-up care has inundated the family with bills they are unable to pay. Unpaid bills result in a lack of or delayed treatment, something Lance couldn’t afford to have happen – figuratively and literally.
After hearing about success stories using crowdfunding and fundraising pages, Lance’s daughter Mackenzie set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her father. After setting an initial goal, support poured in. They were able to make the chemotherapy treatment payments on time and pay for regular monthly expenses while Lance was unable to work. No one could have predicted the amount of support Lance received – nearly $100,000 in donations in a matter of months. Lance is currently recovering and playing music, while also helping others with addiction. He spreads motivation to cancer sufferers with his words and his music.
It’s something no one plans for, yet it happens to more people than you can name. Cancer is one of the most expensive diseases because of the numerous doctors, specialists, treatments, and follow-up care necessary for recovery. Because the diagnosis normally comes as a surprise to most individuals, it’s too late to financially prepare for something so catastrophic. Insurance will only pay so much, and even after you’ve met your deductible, copays, coinsurance, and other expenses will begin to pile up. Without a savings account, many people are left to decide between medication and food.
Organizations like GoFundMe make it possible for people suffering from financial hardships like lymphoma to afford treatment. There have been cases in which people who haven’t been able to afford treatment have succumbed to their illness – in today’s day and age, this shouldn’t be possible. GoFundMe (and other organizations like it) are using this platform to connect people willing to donate, to people who need donations.
Miracles have happened with crowdfunding sites, and millions of success stories exist. Launched in 2010, GoFundMe alone has raised over $3 billion dollars to people in need. With a donor audience of 25 million ready to hear your story and willing to donate, financial hardships may just be a thing of the past for some families.
If anyone you know is suffering from lymphoma (or another cancer, disease, or tragedy) and is struggling to pay the bills, search the internet to learn about the different success stories and financial hardships that come with illnesses, and how they have overcome them using crowdfunding. Behind every donor is a story of someone in their life that motivates their reason behind their generosity. Cancer doesn’t wait for you to save.