How crowdfunding can serve as a viable option to help cancer patients during the COVID-19 crisis

How crowdfunding can serve as a viable option to help cancer patients during the COVID-19 crisis

Over 1300 Indians die daily due to cancer according to the ICMR, and the ongoing pandemic has left many patients in a precarious position. COVID-19 has put our hospitals and healthcare system into an overdriven state. While our governing bodies, healthcare systems, and the public are deeply concerned about the coronavirus, as they should be, let us not forget about the disease that has left many families broken, emotionally and monetarily. For these families, crowdfunding can provide much needed financial assistance. 

Cancer and its burden:

According to statistics released by WHO, Cancer is the second-highest cause of death, accounting for 1 in every 6 deaths globally, while the cancer mortality rate in India is over 6% of total deaths in the nation. Treatment of cancer doesn’t always have a successful result, and even successfully treated patients take a while until they can fully recover. Their weakened immune system, the complicated nature of their disease, and the fear of contracting the coronavirus make this time period extremely stressful for the unfortunate cancer patients.

The immense emotional stress aside, Cancer treatment comes with an enormous financial strain on the families of its victims. Cancer research and treatment has come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before successful cancer treatment is a reality that everyone can afford. 

Crowdfunding is a solution:

For the families that in the past may have had to borrow money and consequently go into debt, Crowdfunding can provide much-needed relief. Crowdfunding enables them to generate funds without the pressure of paying the amount back, allowing low and medium-income households to pursue quality treatment, while still keeping them financially stable.  Many around the world have managed to raise funds through an online campaign, which has helped them reduce the financial load on them.

Crowdfunding to fund effective treatment of the patients is the most straightforward way to involve crowdfunding in the conversation. Depending upon the complexity of the case and its requirements, most crowdfunding campaigns for cancer patients can cover a patient’s treatment, medicinal needs, travel and boarding costs & in some cases the rehabilitation and post-treatment cost of a patient. A number of individuals around the world have accepted crowdfunding to pay a part or their entire treatment bills.

While direct funding is an easy example, NGOs that use crowdfunding to provide services and facilities to cancer patients are also fairly common. There are many NGOs that focus on cancer patients, & through crowdfunding, they can continue their efforts and raise funds periodically, enabling them to reach out to multiple families at a time. As social distancing has become the norm, such fundraisers allow the NGOs to safely generate funds, with minimal interaction.

With regards to the patients, for whom treatment will unfortunately not be enough, crowdfunding can help them receive much-needed palliative care. Palliative care can provide them with relief from physical, psychosocial, and spiritual problems, allowing them to live their last days peacefully.

How Crowdfunding can help during the pandemic:

While the virus spreads indifferently, cancer patients with their weaker immune systems need better protection. While Crowdfunding is primarily used to fund the upfront treatment costs of patients, it can also be used to create a safer environment for cancer patients.  These methods are mostly indirect as they are not necessarily targeted just to protect cancer patients, but help create an environment that benefits everyone.

A simple example is the use of crowdfunding to provide PPE kits to doctors and healthcare workers. As our healthcare system gets flooded, protecting our medical warriors is crucial, as they are the ones responsible for the treatment of others. Through crowdfunding, a number of campaigns from NGOs and even Corporate initiatives have been able to provide PPE kits to doctors and healthcare workers. Similar campaigns can be run to provide protective equipment to non-COVID patients to prevent them from contracting the virus. This is especially important to cancer patients as during and even after treatment, their immunity is compromised.

Oncohappy, an NGO, thought of an innovative campaign, through which they will provide hygienic living accommodations to cancer patients and their families, who had moved outstation to receive treatment but are now stuck due to the lockdown. Another use of crowdfunding is to set up better containment zones within hospitals, to further prevent the spread of the virus within the hospital, protecting the non-COVID patients. Setting up telemedicine and remote rehabilitation technology will allow doctors to help the patients remotely, and is another area where crowdfunding can provide funding. 

Many families have had to borrow money to treat their loved ones, leaving them huge debts to pay. If adopted on a more regular basis, crowdfunding can save many families from going through a similar situation. Cancer patients and their loved ones have many hurdles, and through crowdfunding, they have one less hurdle to deal with. As situations get tougher with each passing day, educating and enabling patients to set up fundraisers can help many have a second chance at life.  Even during the pandemic, crowdfunding gives these families a ray of hope – and in turbulent times like these, a ray of hope can be everything.

Source: Qrius By: Khushboo Jain

The author is Co-Founder and COO,

Khushboo’s LinkedIn Profile:

Support families fighting financial toxicity of cancer – here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *