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A black and white shot of a ceramic piggy bank in the hands of a young person, whose hands are held by an older set of hands.
Christina DAllesandro's picture

I have had it. This morning I got another GoFundMe request in my inbox. This time it is to support the treatment for the mother of a teammate on my son’s lacrosse team. She will need to have surgery in the next two weeks to remove a brain tumor.

I don’t know her well, but I do know she is a single mom of a 10 year old boy and I can tell you I am absolutely furious that rather than focus on her recovery and her son, she has to first and foremost figure out how she’ll be able to afford lifesaving treatment and how she’ll be able to afford the time away from work she’ll need to recover.  

With any illness there are expenses. There are travel costs, parking costs, basic costs to get you through the many hours of appointments, and add to that costs you incur as a parent – extra time at your afterschool program or with your childcare provider. I get that.

Now – think this through – you are the sole provider, what then? Now we are talking about lost wages, fear of losing your job and with it your insurance? The immediate concern is how can I pay for this? How will I pay the deductible? How will I pay my copay? Can I afford this treatment? What are my options?

Now imagine you are a single parent – the fear you must be feeling – this is just not right!

So I gave to the GoFundMe campaign– as did many of the other parents on the team, just like we did when my younger son’s classmate was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in January. We gave because we want to help. We are lucky to have the ability to give right now. But crowdfunding for medical costs and covering lost wages when people need time to recover from a serious medical situation isn’t only not sustainable. It’s also ridiculous, obscene and immoral.

Why is it that every day we see more and more of these requests to support families in times or crisis? There is plenty of research and even model programs that show it is possible to have a paid family and medical leave insurance programs that would allow this family to be able to receive a portion of their wages while dealing with serious medical issues. There is broad support across the political spectrum for paid family and medical leave and yet the United States remains the only industrialized country in the world without this in place. What is wrong here?

Access to paid family and medical leave insurance won’t cure cancer or stop brain tumors, but it will help ease some of the worry. So will affordable health care. People deserve to know there is a backstop to help you out when you most need it. Care is care is care. Being there for family is what matters most and you shouldn’t have to give up a paycheck to do it.  We cannot continue to crowdfund medical costs when it is so clear that there are other very viable options on the table.

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