Helping Sick Canadians Help Themselves
Peggy Mahoney, of Victoria has experienced first-hand the generosity of Canadians wanting to help those in need.
"Imagine you're in the final assessment stage for a liver transplant and you're told you have to stay in Vancouver for three months. I figured out that the total cost would run between $15,000 and $20,000," said Peggy, while sipping tea in a coffee shop in Cook Street Village in Victoria.
That was Peggy's scenario when she had to move from Victoria to Vancouver for four months. Peggy had already been on disability for three years and didn't have a pile of savings to draw from for her transplant. Plus, her family lives out east in Ottawa, Toronto and Goose Bay. Both of her children missed out on their summer income so they could be with her during the transplant.
"You have three choices at that time: Pay it, raise it, or deny yourself the life-saving treatment."
She decided to create a site where she could post her story. That link was quickly shared and the news spread throughout her network. $10,000 was raised for her health-related bills in just two weeks.
"It's incredibly humbling how people want to help. But everyone has a community and when someone is going through their worst time due to poor health, people want to help out."
That experience inspired Peggy to launch www.caretohope.ca, a niche, totally Canadian fundraising site for health care patients dealing with out-of-pocket health expenses.
Learn how Classic Lifecare provides homecare to families living with critical illness.
The site doubles as a forum for Canadians to start talking about critical illness, elderly care, implied consent, and any other health issues on their minds.
"Whether we want to admit it or not in Canada, there is a financial triage for services and money dictates who gets access," says Peggy. "I want this site to allow Canadians to give money directly to the people who need it. The site will also provide supportive counselling. People will be able to access end-of-life and critical illness counselling. It will be affordable online counselling for people who can't access or afford counselling in their own community."
Peggy's journey with ill health began with a misdiagnosis in her twenties. She developed a rare liver condition and now has no large intestine, no gallbladder, no appendix and is the successful recipient of a partial liver transplant from her son.
Peggy's vision for www.caretohope.ca was made a reality after she took an entrepreneurship course for people with disabilities called EntreActive through Business Victoria, which gave her the tools and insight she needed to get her business rolling.
The website was a way for Peggy to consilidate on all the other careers and education she has had. Her experience has included math, education, a Masters in psychology, a second Masters in human security and disaster management. She has served as executive director for a few not-for-profit organizations, been a professional fundraiser, and worked as an addictions counsellor.
She chalks up her extensive background of education and work experience to her natural curiosity and passion.
"I have a terribly curious brain," she laughs. "When I came up with this idea, I set out to replace the income my disability prevented me from earning, not to make a fortune. Copared to other sites like mine in the US, I take the lowest percentage of funds raised."
Her business is a social enterprise, not a non-profit, and 4% of donations will pay for site maintenance, development and her salary.
"Part of my passion is giving back," says Peggy. "People supported me this way when I was in need and I want to use my talents so other critically ill people can access the help they need."
For more information about Peggy's own journey, visit: http://caretohope.ca/about#section-3
To post your own story and start a fundraiser, click here: http://caretohope.ca/login?redirect_to=http://caretohope.ca/start-a-fundraiser