• Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Earlier than dying, she made a fund to cancel others’ medical debt — now $60 million value : NPR

Earlier than dying, she made a fund to cancel others' medical debt — now $60 million value : NPR


ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Casey McIntyre was 38 years previous when she died final week from ovarian most cancers. After her dying, a be aware she’d written was posted on social media. It began, to my buddies, should you’re studying this, I’ve handed away. The put up contained images of her together with her household, her husband, Andrew Gregory, and their 18-month-old daughter, Grace. It continues, to rejoice my life, I’ve organized to purchase up others’ medical debt after which destroy the debt. Greater than 4 in 10 American households owe medical debt. The nonprofit group RIP Medical Debt is working to scale back that. For each greenback donated, they relieve as much as 100 {dollars} of medical debt. They purchase the debt thousands and thousands of {dollars} at a time at a fraction of the unique price. McIntyre included a hyperlink to the fund she arrange with RIP Medical Debt in her honor, and as of in the present day, it has raised greater than $600,000, canceling round $60 million of medical debt. Properly, to inform us extra about Casey and her debt cancellation marketing campaign, we’re joined by her husband, Andrew Gregory. Andrew, thanks for talking with us on this Thanksgiving, and I am sorry to your loss.

ANDREW GREGORY: Thanks. I actually recognize you having me on.

SHAPIRO: Earlier than we discuss concerning the marketing campaign, are you able to give us a snapshot of what Casey was like? As I used to be studying her posthumous put up, her humorousness actually got here by way of.

GREGORY: Casey was very, very, very humorous. She was only a hilarious girl. From our very first date, she was cracking me up, and I used to be cracking her up. And we by no means stopped laughing even whereas, frankly, you recognize, she was struggling together with her analysis of stage 4 ovarian most cancers for 4 years. Once I look again at that, it is fairly exceptional.

SHAPIRO: She had good medical insurance coverage. And so this fundraising marketing campaign is to not repay her medical debt, however she was very conscious that so many individuals within the nation don’t have entry to excellent care. When did she change into obsessed with that? Was there some form of private connection to the trigger?

GREGORY: , she labored as a writer at Penguin Random Home, so she had this actually wonderful company insurance coverage. However frankly, like, as Casey met different most cancers sufferers, like, on Instagram, on Twitter, different younger sufferers with ovarian most cancers – as a result of it’s totally uncommon to have ovarian most cancers whenever you’re as younger as Casey was recognized at 34 – individuals are private chapter. Persons are deciding whether or not they are going to obtain care. Persons are which payments they are going to cease paying for his or her care. And Case and I have been simply keenly conscious, each of us, that our payments weren’t zero, however they have been a lot nearer to zero. They have been doable for us. The opposite individuals have been simply being financially destroyed.

SHAPIRO: Was there one dialog the 2 of you had the place she mentioned, that is what I would like my legacy to be after I am gone; that is what I need to occur?

GREGORY: , final March, we noticed a video on-line that was a little bit little bit of a viral put up the place a Moravian church in Winston-Salem, N.C., not too removed from the place I grew up, burned $3 million of debt. And one factor they did that was actually cool is all native debt. They’ve destroyed all the medical debt in Yadkin County, N.C. And I simply assume that’s actually cool. And I confirmed that put up to Casey, they usually had finished it by way of RIP Medical Debt as properly. And Casey and I simply – I believe we noticed it whereas we have been in Memorial Sloan Kettering’s ready room. You are simply in there scrolling all day lengthy when you’re ready for chemotherapy to start out. And Casey and I mentioned, that is going to be one in every of our month-to-month donations. , we now have a pair charities we give to. We’ll give to RIP Medical Debt.

And Casey got here very, very near dying across the finish of Might. And whereas she was within the hospital, we got here to an settlement that that is what we have been going to do. And Casey was very enthusiastic about it. And she or he acquired out of the hospital, which – we have been very fortunate that she did. She entered dwelling hospice on the advice of her oncologist, and we have been actually fortunate that she lived for six months. There’s – you understand how generally you are brushing your tooth with a liked one and, like, hastily you’ve a a lot realer dialog than you normally would have since you’re brushing your tooth for some purpose? Like, initially of July, we have been brushing our tooth, and Casey checked out me hastily and was like, did you assume I might be alive in July? And I used to be like, no, positively not. Did you assume you would be alive? And she or he was like, oh, no, positively not. We would by no means talked about it in June – by no means. However…

SHAPIRO: Wow.

GREGORY: , it was simply luck that some points she was coping with that actually appeared like she would stay for 2 or three weeks when she acquired out of the hospital cleared up, and she or he was in a position to stay till November 12.

SHAPIRO: And she or he was 38 years previous. Yeah. Do you assume she might have imagined that this might have gone as viral because it has and lift as a lot cash because it has raised?

GREGORY: I don’t assume Casey might have presumably imagined this response, the worldwide press protection it is gotten whilst I believe she would have thought that might have gotten some discover. Nevertheless it’s simply wild to me, and I believe it will imply wild to her that she is wiping greater than $60 million of medical debt off the slate. That is – it is unbelievable to me. And I believe it will have been unbelievable to her.

SHAPIRO: Do you’ve any manner of figuring out who you have helped? I imply, clearly, $60 million of medical debt, give or take, is lots of people. Do you’ve any manner of figuring out who’s affected?

GREGORY: Properly, I used to be in a position to discuss to the CEO of RIP Medical Debt, Allison Sesso. And one factor that is actually – that actually blew me away is I mentioned to her, like, hey. We set this up as a nationwide marketing campaign. Wouldn’t it be attainable to set – like, possibly shift it to be extra like New York Metropolis? – as a result of Casey was such a consummate New Yorker. And Allison mentioned, Andrew, like, that is an excessive amount of medical debt for New York Metropolis, for us to purchase. Like, we now have to do an even bigger space. And she or he additionally mentioned – and I do not know what I’ll say. However she mentioned, there’s going to be a letter. Like, every one in every of these individuals will get a letter within the mail that claims, your debt is gone. Like, you are freed from this debt. And she or he mentioned, you will get to jot down a part of that letter, Andrew. So I am going to have to consider what Casey would have wished to say.

SHAPIRO: So every of these individuals…

GREGORY: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: …Will learn about your late spouse.

GREGORY: Yeah.

SHAPIRO: Have you considered what you are going to say in that letter?

GREGORY: I believe I am going to strive to attract from what she mentioned in her final put up and a few of what I’ve written about her, you recognize, that folks can discover within the obituary that I put up on-line.

SHAPIRO: Do you need to depart us with one different Casey anecdote?

GREGORY: I’ll, and that is one thing that her mother advised me final night time. Casey usually advised me, as a writer and a publicist, that the crown jewel – you will assume I am buttering you up. However she actually mentioned the crown jewel of any e book publicity marketing campaign was being on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Ari. And…

SHAPIRO: (Laughter) Andrew, I didn’t anticipate you to recollect your late spouse with flattery for this program.

GREGORY: However as a younger publicist, her mother mentioned that she remembers the day that she known as her the primary time that she was on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And she or he and her mother cried on the telephone, figuring out that it is a large second in Casey’s profession, that she’d gotten a e book on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. And I believe it is extraordinary that Casey’s marketing campaign has reached so many, that Casey’s humorousness has reached so many. And, you recognize, thanks for serving to it proceed to succeed in extra individuals, Ari.

SHAPIRO: Properly, as a publicist, that dialog probably by no means talked about her, was not about her. And I am glad to have the ability to have a dialog that’s. Andrew Gregory talking there about his late spouse Casey McIntyre’s medical debt cancellation fund. Andrew, thanks, and joyful Thanksgiving.

GREGORY: Thanks for having me.

SHAPIRO: And should you go to the web page RIP Medical Debt, you could find the marketing campaign for Casey McIntyre.

(SOUNDBITE OF NITSUA SONG, “NEW TOMORROW (FEAT. SALEEM AND TOPIX)”)

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