With the soaring costs of health care, some Americans are turning to online crowdfunding websites to raise money to pay for the care they need. One woman who started her digital campaign on Wednesday has already raised $25,000.
Ariella Barker told HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski that she has racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills trying to fight an infectious disease she contracted from a tick or head lice.
Barker, who works in New York City, said the only doctor she's found who can treat her condition is in California. After exhausting her savings on treatment and travel, she decided to go public with a campaign on the online fundraising site GoFundMe.
Barker hopes to raise $50,000 to pay her bills. So far, she has raised more than $25,000, much of which she said came from strangers. Barker said she's also raised approximately $8,000 in private, direct donations.
- Watch the Full Segment on HuffPost Live.
"It's overwhelmingly touching," Barker told HuffPost Live. "I had no idea this many people loved me. I had no idea that this many people cared to make sure that I was healthy and to get better."
Barker's full plea on GoFundMe states:
In 2008, I made aliyah and immigrated to Israel. Between 2008 and 2009, I, unknowingly, contracted an infectious disease from a tick or head lice. Since 2010, I have been repeatedly hospitalized, often unemployed and subjected to two unnecessary brain surgeries, leaving me with thousands of dollars in medical bills. This week, I was diagnosed with this infectious disease (tick or louse borne relapsing fever and borellia persica), and because the disease has attacked my central nervous system and breached brain blood during the craniotomy, I need immediate IV antibiotics for 42 days. The only doctor specializing in Israeli borellias and these specific borellias is in Monterey, California. As a result, this Sunday, I will be going to California for several weeks for treatment. The cost of airfare, car rental, gas, food and housing is thousands of dollars alone, not to mention any and all out of pocket expenses I will incur from treatment. I have exhausted my savings in medical bills, my mother has had to take a leave of absence from her job, and my family has limited financial resources. Any help you can give me is greatly appreciated, and any funds raised that I do not end up needing, I will donate to my friend, who was just diagnosed with the same infectious disease in Israel.
The AARP recommends individuals interested in using crowdfunding for health care costs research each site's fees and how quickly money can be transfered.