Crowdfunding: Our Twisted Sense of Social Priorities

go fund me

We all have our moments of angst and anger, and oftentimes over things that aren’t necessarily even a personal concern to us. So, be me this morning. I’m browsing around, minding my own business, and I see this GoFundMe for a girl who tragically lost her arm in an accident, and she’s trying to raise $20,000 for a prosthetic arm. At first, I was just upset that it costs so much. What are we doing, America!? We have thousands of amputees coming home from war alone who need these prosthesis and rehabilitation, not even counting the everyday citizens who unfortunately find themselves in such situations, and our answer to this is to make it a billion-dollar industry so people get rich?

I have never ridden very far on the socialized medicine bang-wagon, but there has to be a much better solution than to charge more than a new luxury car for a prosthetic limb. It is really outrageous.

My anger amplified when this girl’s story dredged up some memories for me on a personal level. A little over two years ago, my sister-in-law Codi found out she was pregnant with her second child. I was over-the-moon excited for my brother and her; finally, my nephew would have a little brother or sister! However, upon examining the baby, doctors found that she was growing a cyst in her brain, which would hinder her brain development, and the doctors predicted she would be born handicapped. Obviously and understandably devastated, Codi struggled with the decision to keep or abort the child. Reaching the decision to have the baby, she then needed money to care for any potential conditions from which the baby might suffer. So, like so many people, she created a GoFundMe page. In over five months, she raised $75 – yes, you’re reading that right; Seventy-five dollars. Meanwhile, some schmuck who crowdfunds for potato salad on Kickstarter and raises over $55,000. Yes! Fifty-five thousand dollars.

Do you see the problem?

This girl in particular, the one trying to raise the money for her prostheses, is a relative stranger to me. I do this not for noble intent. And while she is absurdly gorgeous, like insanely… off the charts, I’m also not doing this for some long-con game to know her any better. I do this wholly for selfish reasons: I want the culture to change! I honestly do. A good, deserving, humble person puts him or herself out there to seek help, and it is exceedingly hard to find it. For a legitimately good cause, that is. However, if you’re some bozo who needs potato salad or wants a Pepe-green fidget spinner, the weeaboo philanthropists come out of the woodwork, peppering their donations.

I know the girl here as Duck, that’s it. Nothing else about her. What I do know, however, is that she is putting herself out there for a genuine cause, to improve the quality of her life, not just to try a new ice cream flavor or pre-order the latest Assassin’s Creed game. And what has been the response? To date, about 1/5 of her goal. Maybe she will reach that goal; maybe this article will help. Maybe it won’t. But with this platform, I have promised myself that I will attempt to draw attention to the ass-backwards way by which we in society view crowdfunding.

Luckily for my family, Kaylee was born perfectly healthy; the brain actually grew around the cyst, which eventually disappeared altogether. She’s almost two now, cute as a button, and smart as a whip. But the scare was real, and the response was practically nonexistent.  I still joke with Codi to this day: “If only you just needed potato salad!”

Other people who need crowdfunding have issues that aren’t going to work themselves out.

Just having spoken with Duck in a roundabout way, she seems very intelligent, incredibly humorous, and is a bright spot compared to the sheer amount of idiocy to be found out there in cyberworld. Certainly not bad to look at either, but that’s more a “me” issue, seeing as I’m the poster-child for typical guys. The important thing here on which to focus is that Duck is striving to improve her plight, as we all do. And she needs a little boost in this instance. Like I said, I do not know her, but I get the distinct impression that she’s incredibly strong, fiercely independent, and would not be making a GoFundMe if not for the price-gouging going on in the prosthetic industry. So I am going to help, when I am able.

I ask that you do too!

These are the situations about which we should care, not some random bozo and his choice of bastardized Irish side-dishes. I’m not a televangelist asking people to dig deep for the power of miracles or whatever. I’m just a typical dude who cares about these situations, imploring people to screw their damn heads on straight when it comes to crowdfunding.

So if you’re one of the world’s great, noble givers, please consider giving to something worthy. For those other people, tell ’em to kick rocks and buy their own potatoes. They’re like $3 a bag, for Pete’s sake.

Let us help those who are deserving. With that, these great people turn back around and help improve our lives in numerous and immeasurable ways.