So you did the research, called different clinics, consulted with past patients and now know more than you ever thought you would about cancer and alternative treatment methods.
At this point, many patients feel like they are ready to make a decision and move forward but one giant thing often seems to be standing directly in the way.
We still live in a day and age where most insurance companies in western countries will not cover alternative treatments for cancer. To top it off, if you live in the United States, your insurance company is legally prohibited from doing so.
When you start delving into the world of alternative treatment one of the first things you learn is that the kinds of treatments offered are not cheap, and a stay at a clinic will easily add up to tens of thousands of dollars – and that’s just the beginning. After your initial stay at a clinic, you will find that post-care protocols, keeping up with a healthy diet and returning for check-ups all come with their own price tag and are an equally important part of the process.
Most people do not have this kind of money lying around and are faced with yet another difficult question – how can I possibly pay for this?
If you’re in this situation right now, it’s important to know that people just like you have been able to raise the amount they needed to seek alternative treatments. Many people have taken a leap of faith and found unconventional ways to fund their medical treatment successfully.
Get a Kickstarter / Start Crowdfunding
There seem to be a countless number of these floating around social media, and you may be thinking to yourself: “Do people actually donate to these things?” And “Won’t mine get lost in the shuffle?” The answers are yes they do, and no it doesn’t have to.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to use the same GoFundMe format that everyone else is, there are numerous sites out there that essentially do the same thing and will collect the money for you, create a clean looking webpage and allow you to cash out.
Some of these sites do take a percentage of the total, and when you are raising money, every dollar counts. As of 2017, GoFundMe no longer takes a percentage from medical Kickstarter, which was a huge step in the right direction.
When my own family created a Kickstarter to raise $29,000 for my mother’s treatment in 2013, we opted out of using any of these websites and created a Facebook page instead, using a regular old Paypal link to collect the donations. We were counting every dollar and there was no way we could have given any percentage to anyone else. Paypal was simple to set up, most people know how to use it, and we were able to send or post the link everywhere.
* When creating your Kickstarter, make sure the link to donate is very clear and centrally located.
* When writing content, remember to be personable and don’t be scared to tell your real story! Don’t worry about giving too much detail or information – it’s time to get vulnerable and be honest.
* Use a lot of photos.
* Explain exactly what you need, and why you chose to pursue the route you are pursuing.
* Update frequently and if you need to adjust the amount you’re asking for, don’t be afraid to do so.
* Tell EVERYONE. Don’t be scared to ask for help! Post the links on all your socials and reach out to others via email and phone.
Now that you have your Kickstarter in place, here are some other ideas that you can use to create awareness for your cause and raise money:
- > Invite your family and friends over and explain what’s going on. Ask them to help and share your story with their own social networks.
- > Ask your boss to send an email out to the entire company asking other employees to donate.
- > Start an email list to provide updates on your condition, and attach the link where people can donate to help you with each step along the way.
- > Appoint someone you trust to help oversee all the donations and be part of your creative support team.
- > Contact your church/synagogue/kid’s school/community center or any other local community group and ask them to help. This can be by making an announcement, notifying their mailing list, taking up a collection or simply by making a donation to your cause.
Other Ways to Raise Money In Your Community
* Throw a car wash at your local school or park where all proceeds benefit your medical funds. If this feels overwhelming, ask a trusted friend to help and oversee it so you don’t have to.
* Have an online raffle.
* Ask a friend to throw a silent auction and see what local Mom & Pop businesses would be willing to participate.
* Have a yard sale or garage sale.
* See what assets you have that you can sell.
* Look into local charities that help with portions of medical bills.
* Research other financial options available to you. See if there’s equity in your home and if you can take out a home equity loan. (While this is not ideal, it can be a tremendous asset.)
* Believe you CAN do it.
Yes, some of the above require conversations that can be intimidating and feel a little bit awkward, but you’ll be surprised at how many people would like to help you if they know how they can do so.
Many patients raised money using a combination of these methods, and you can too. Don’t get discouraged at the beginning if you get a few no’s, just keep putting the word out and get creative with it!
For more practical tips on your journey, see our blog.