If you're a regular Techvibes reader, you know all about FundRazr, the Vancouver-based crowdfunding and fundraising site.
Unlike its cousin Kickstarter, the projects on FundRazr have a more feel-good, charitable vibe, with less of a focus on mail-away T-shirts and keychains for a product that may or may never get made. A good number of the featured campaigns on FundRazr are personal medical projects where you can help fund someone's surgery or ongoing care.
In recognition of this unique focus, FundRazr has recently teamed up with the consumer-facing medical hub Healthline to co-promote their fundraising campaigns.
The personal medical projects on FundRazr run along the lines of "help little Billy pay for his tracheotomy" or "help my wife Martha battle colorectal cancer." Naturally, many of the recipients of these campaigns live in the United States, where President Barack Obama appears to be continually losing his own battle to nudge the country towards universal health care (also known as "pinko commie leftist socialist health care" to many of our misguided friends south of the 49th).
If ever you wanted a reminder of why the CBC chose the Father of Medicare, Tommy Douglas, as The Greatest Canadian, take a cruise through the Healthline campaign site. It's a veritable sideshow of malfunctioning limbs, overactive lymph nodes, terminal diseases and broken bodies, all dancing to the tune of debilitating pharmaceutical and health care costs.
As a father of two, I remember being shocked and appalled at hearing that the cost of having a baby in the United States is around $20,000 for the uninsured. Frankly, it just doesn't seem right to pay that kind of sum for something smothered in poop and spit-up.
Throughout my lifetime, the recipients of charity have lived in distant countries, have spoken languages other than English, and have been distant enough to always be thought of as "other". It's a very different thing now to see such a dire need in people who are "me." These are people for whom the line between prosperity and poverty is drawn by a devastatingly expensive prescription drug, or the ongoing and costly need for private in-home care. The partnership between FundRazr and Healthline brings charity desperately and uncomfortably close to home.