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Saturday, July 06, 2013

In case you are considering a fundraiser to help pay for cancer treatment

I was fortunate to be able to tell my friends to NOT hold a fundraiser for me in 2006 or 2007.  My colleagues at work all pitched in and gave me an iPod instead, which still keeps me company on the road and around the house, and a cash gift I received was put towards the purchase of my Gypsy bicycle. It took me about 4 years, but I finally paid off all my co-pay costs (including those that occurred in my follow-up visits - those MRIs and CT scans really rack up the charges!) 

I know of many fundraisers to fight Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma and other cancers, though, some of which have been mentioned on this blog (and will continue to be). If you are considering holding a fundraiser or enlisting the crowd to help pay for your or your loved-one's/friend's medical bills, here are some sites that might come in handy.

You Caring - from the site: "In just 3 steps, easily create your own site to raise money online for personal causes & life events. No fees, easy & secure. YouCaring is a free fundraising website created for individuals wanting to raise funds for medical expenses, memorials and funerals, education and tuition assistance, adoption fundraising, funding for mission trips, pet expenses or animal rescue and helping another in need. It provides a simple and organized way to implement your fundraiser ideas and help achieve, or exceed your fundraising goals."

Give Forward - from the site: "GiveForward's online fundraising pages empower friends and family to send love and financial support to patients navigating a medical crisis. Start a GiveForward page today to ease the burden of your loved one's out-of-pocket medical bills."

These and other sites are also discussed in this Fox Business post: . 

You may wish to consider seeking out financial assistance before requesting donations at the beginning of care. Here is a page of suggested links at the Oral Cancer Foundation: . 

Don't forget to enlist the assistance of a CPA to help figure out what bills you have incurred that might be deductible from your taxes. Here is the page from the U.S. IRS on what is and isn't currently considered a medical expense deduction: Personally, I figure hiring a CPA to handle my taxes is just another professional on my team involved in my after-cancer life. 

My reason for not wanting a fundraiser is because of a conversation I had a couple of decades ago with the mom of a wonderful boy that was born with a rare skin condition. The small community had pulled together and held many fundraisers to help with the huge medical expenses the family faced after his birth and during his early months, that stretched into years. When I met the family, he was 10 years old and doing wonderfully, though still hoping for a cure. His mom said that sometimes she wished she had not taken the donations.  She would hear unkind, snide comments about new vehicles that the family had purchased to replace ones that had worn out, or about the new house they had built, or even a new winter coat she had bought herself (first one in years), all assuming that the money was being squandered instead of going to her son's medical care (when in reality, the money had been spent years ago - the bills were that high). Because of how some of the community members viewed her purchases, even 10 years after the initial fundraisers, the family refused any further fundraisers in their son's name. 

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