Could Crowdfunding Help This Man Walk Again?

By Queen Muse  Steven Quigley never expected to be the victim of a tragic accident. But on one fateful night in 2011, the then 37-year-old New Jersey native was brutally attacked and knocked unconscious by unknown assailants after an outing with friends in Old City.

Coming to grips with the brutality of his mysterious and still unsolved attack was only half of the battle for Quigley. After learning that the attack had left him with a quad spinal injury and a prognosis of life in a wheelchair with a 10-percent chance of ever walking again, Quigley later became aware of the hefty medical expenses he would soon incur.

he estimated cost of care for the type of spinal injury Quigley sustained ranges anywhere from $500,000 to more than one million dollars, in the first year alone.  As a result of his injuries, Quigley spent six months in a trauma intensive care unit and a rehabilitation hospital. Even when he was released to his home, he required full-time nurses and doctors to help him with nearly all of his basic, daily functions, which up until now, were covered by his health insurance and generous donations from family members.

Having exhausted all of his personal savings and family donations, and reaching the maximum limits with his health insurance, Quigley turned to what he called his last hope: medical crowdfunding.

“Honestly, if I hadn’t found crowdfunding, I would have knelt down and prayed, and hoped that there was another answer. I don’t know what else I could’ve done to raise this much money,” he said.

Last month, Quigley started the ‘Help Steven Walk Again’ fundraising campaign on Go Fund Me, a crowdfunding web site that allows people to raise money for various causes including accidents and illnesses. Quigley’s campaign has attracted 119 donors who, to date, have contributed $11,960 to his recovery costs.

The donations have helped pay for Quigley’s at-home therapists and other treatments necessary to his recovery, that he would have had no other means of paying.

When it comes to being unprepared for emergency medical costs, Quigley is not alone.

In a 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 50-percent of Americans said they would struggle to come up with as little as $2,000 in the event of a medical emergency.  So, for people facing much higher emergency medical costs, crowdfunding could be a vital resource for fundraising.

Marion Leary is the president and founder of local medical crowdfunding company Sink or Swim. She says crowdfunding for medical costs is becoming more and more popular among underinsured individuals facing unexpected medical costs.



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