Over the past few years, crowdfunding has become increasingly used to help people raise money for health expenses and medical costs. Across the UK, over £15.5 million has been raised in GoFundMe's 'Medical Illness and Healing' category since 2010, making it the site's most heavily utilised fundraising category. The average total amount raised by a typical medical campaign in the UK is £3,100, with the average donation to a campaign being £41.
Greg Gilbert's crowdfunding campaign was recently highlighted in the Telegraph. Lead singer in Indie band, The Delays, Greg was wrongly diagnosed for two years with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and it wasn't until he collapsed in November that he was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and told the devastating news that it had spread to his lungs. Tests showed Greg was genetically incompatible with the only immune therapy available on the NHS, as well as the immunotherapy drug, Avastin, available privately. So, Greg and his wife turned to GoFundMe to raise money for treatment in the US - and have so far raised over £149,00.
The majority of campaigns are by members of the public aiming to raise money for relatives and friends. Recent high profile cases have included paralysed jockey, Freddie Tylicki who had £276,105 raised to help fund his rehabilitation programme, Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell's campaign for cancer treatment and Lucy-Mae Beacock, from Matilda the Musical, who crowdfunded for corrective spine surgery to take place in the US.
Kirsty Ettrick, CEO and Founder of London Medical Concierge, comments, "As medical treatment information is easily available online, patients and their families are following a similar path and searching for treamtents that are not on the NHS or even available privately in the UK, in the hope that they may be effective in treating their condition. So, crowdfunding has become a new option to help families to chart healthcare pathways that wouldn't ordinarily be available for them and it's reassuring that people are exploring and accessing every medical treatment out there. However, we would always urge patients to consult a medical professional for advice and support on the right treatment for them."