This Woman Wants to Make It Less Awkward for Sick People to Ask for What They Need
Five years after my sister’s death, I still choke up trying to describe her. Diem was one in a million: passionate, free-spirited, energetic, and so positive about life and making the most of every moment. She was always first on the dance floor or to have a mic in her hand during karaoke. Nothing seemed to scare her, even cancer.
In 2005, soon after graduating college, Diem was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Without a steady job or health insurance, she found herself facing tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. At the same time, many of her friends were getting married or having babies. For the next nine years, while Diem was fighting for her life, she received dozens of invitations to baby showers and weddings. People needed toasters and blenders, while Diem needed a wig, walker, and help covering the cost of prescriptions.
As she sat in a hospital room one day, surrounded by flowers and wishing she could transform them into items she actually needed, the idea of MedGift was born. Diem envisioned a “crowd-caring” platform where people could post wish lists for specific items—like a wheelchair—that they needed, or raise funds for medical expenses and insurance deductibles. Thanks to her, MedGift became a reality, and after Diem lost her battle to cancer in 2014, at the age of 34, I kept it alive.
Today, more than 20,000 support pages and campaigns have launched on MedGift. Some people raise more than $100,000 within weeks. Other people don’t ask for money at all but need help around their house, childcare, meal delivery, rides to the hospital, or emotional support.
Our mission is simple: to take the awkwardness out of asking for anything when you’re sick. I want MedGift to be a one-stop shop for patients and their families to receive all the support they need for the entire duration of their medical journey. And I want Diem’s passion to help people live on.
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