NEW YORK - Casey McIntyre died last week of ovarian cancer and yet remarkably, even after her death she's helping others.
The 38-year-old wife and mother from Brooklyn set up a fundraising campaign set to start after her death. She told her followers in a social media message posted by her husband that she had arranged to buy the medical debt of others as a way of celebrating her life.
McIntyre wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that "if you’re reading this I have passed away."
"I loved each and every one of you with my whole heart and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved," the 38-year-old wrote. The posts included a link to a fundraising campaign started through the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt.
"It's really heartbreaking and simultaneously heartwarming to think that someone was at the end of their life a young mother really in the prime of her life to make this selfless decision," said Daniel Lempert, of RIP Medical Debt. He worked with Casey’s husband to launch Casey’s fundraising page on RIP Medical Debt's website.
The organization buys medical debt from hospitals or collection agencies at a steep discount. The charity then gives financial relief to families living below the poverty line.
Lempert says that Casey's fundraiser has already raised more than half a million dollars in just one week.
"It's taking off in a way that none of our campaigns really have. This is certainly the most any donor or group of donors have raised for us," Lempert said.
According to KFF, a nonprofit government watchdog, as many as one in ten Americans owe at least 250 dollars in medical debt.
"It is incredible, it is earth-shattering to see how we as Americans are getting crushed by medical debt," said Randy Zelin, a New York City lawyer.
Mounting medical debt has also caught the attention of Reverend Melvin Wilson. In June, he encouraged members of the Saint Matthew AME church in Orange, New Jersey to raise $15,000, using the money to eliminate more than $1,000,000 of medical debt for more than 900 New Jersey families.
"It is a huge problem in our country, and we thought it would be good for us to at least make an initial effort to address it for the residents of the state of New Jersey," Wilson said.
Clearly, McIntyre felt similarly, raising over half a million dollars in just over a week.