Crowdfunding helps pay the bills during cancer, but at a price

Crowdfunding has become a means for people with cancer to get help managing the financial impact of their disease. But while there’s relief in paying bills, a new study finds that it comes at a cost.

U-M School of Nursing postdoctoral research fellow Lauren Ghazal, Ph.D., MS, FNP-BC, and a team of researchers surveyed 46 young adult cancer survivors who sought financial support from friends and family during cancer treatment. The survey asked survivors to describe both their experience with and their thoughts about crowdfunding. Results published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship discuss young adult cancer survivors’ perceptions of crowdfunding and compromises made when asking for financial support.

In the study, the average crowdfunding campaign raised just under $3,500, with about half reporting they did not meet their goal.

Participants described relief at raising money to help defray their medical expenses or living expenses while undergoing treatment. They called it “a lifesaver” and noted that they might not have been able to afford treatment or other daily living necessities without it.

But survivors also expressed unease, considering crowdfunding to be humiliating and questioning why it’s necessary.

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