When Matt Fahey, a cameraman for Deadliest Catch, was diagnosed with colon cancer last November, he didn’t have health insurance. He nonetheless went through with surgery and got stuck with a $51,000 bill. Facing six months of follow-up treatments and a six-figure total cost, bankruptcy seemed almost inevitable.

Instead, his cousin, Chuck Horton, a former professional fundraiser-turned-software-entrepreneur, stepped in and set up a Rally.org campaign called “Dumb Ass Cancer” to help pay for Fahey’s treatment.

“We wanted something up and running quicker than a traditional fundraiser,” says Horton. “Matt has a lot of friends on Facebook. We have a large extended family. We knew it was a good way to reach a lot of people really quickly.”

They came up with the idea on Friday. A week later it was live. Within two days, they had raised around $7,000. (The fund is currently approaching $40,000.)

“People jumped in so we can have him focus on recovering rather than worry about where the money will come from,” says Horton.

Fahey with his chemo pump.

Fahey is not alone. An increasing number of people are turning to crowdfunding sites to pay for their health-care costs, to the point that it’s becoming the number one category on some crowdfunding websites. Many campaigns — perhaps a majority — are for cancer treatment, but they also include help with HIV, gunshot wounds, organ transplants, and even infertility treatments. One campaign raised $171,525 for Farrah Soudani, who was critically injured in the Aurora shooting. Another hopes to raise $5,000 for an Iraq War veteran with Gulf War Illness.

Rally, which hosted Dumb Ass Cancer, is at the center of the trend. Originally intended as funding tool for political causes, it is now a platform for a wide range of fundraisers. People have used it to raise money for the March on Washington for Gun Control, for scientific research on great white sharks, and to bring the Buzkashi Boys actors to the Oscars from Afghanistan.

But over the past six months, health care has emerged as the site’s top category, accounting for one in ten of their campaigns. “When we first conceived of Rally.org, we were acutely aware of walkathons and joint fundraising drives for various diseases,” a Rally spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “However, we did not anticipate the pent-up demand for a fundraising platform for individuals from all walks of life to pay their medical bills.”

“Given the seriousness of medical issues and related expenses, it makes sense that these campaigns generate the most support,” says a spokeperson for GoFundMe, another platform that has watched health care become its most popular category.

“People are turning to crowdfunding because they are much more connected socially through the internet, and the ability to crowdfund is becoming less complex,” YouCaring, another crowdfunding site, told BuzzFeed. Sixty-five percent of its campaigns are for medical issues. “Medical costs and the costs associated with sickness are completely out of hand. Many times when someone is sick they also cannot work, which causes even greater financial issues — even though they may have insurance.”

There are even some sites devoted entirely to raising money for health care, such as GiveForward. RareGenomics charter is even narrower: It helps raise money for patients with rare genetic diseases to get genome sequencing tests.

Numbers are rising across the industry. In 2012, there were approximately nine times the number of health-care campaigns on Indiegogo as the year before, pushing it up to the fourth most popular category on the site.

The rise of treatment through crowdfunding corresponds with other worrying trends in health care. Health-care expenditures are the number one source of bankruptcy, according to a 2007 Harvard study published in the American Journal of Medicine. The majority of those filing for bankruptcy — 78% — had medical insurance when they first got sick.

“The best thing of the whole ordeal is seeing how much people love me and have helped,” says Fahey. “Obviously the money is a reflection of that, but besides that, I have had a ton of support from friends and family.”

As grateful as Fahey is for the campaign, he admits that fundraising while ill can be exhausting and says he was lucky that his family took on the responsibility.

“I went to one of the first fundraising meetings and I got frustrated. I was like, ‘I have to go. I’m stressing out too much,’” says Fahey. “Cancer is a full-time job, especially with all the bills and paperwork I get.”

Publicly asking for help also takes an emotional toll. “Personally I don’t like being a charity case or asking for help,” he says. Fahey says it took him a while to reach out to people on his Facebook page — he was worried about how it might look.

Recently, Fahey signed up for a Preexisting-Condition Insurance Plan — aka ObamaCare — but is still facing tens of thousands in bills. “My fear is one asshole will repeal it before I finish treatment and then it will start racking up even more [costs],” says Fahey.

So far Fahey’s campaign has raised $38,000 out of the $65,000 goal. A separate, real-world fundraiser raised $7,000 — paling in comparison to the online contributions. But they still don’t have enough to pay for his chemotherapy and radiation treatment, which he is about to begin.

“The journey is not over,” says Fahey. “At this point, the financial part is harder than the treatment.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/justinesharrock/when-crowdfunding-is-a-matter-of-life-and-death

Nick Ut / AP

Facebook is taking a new step in the direction of public social responsibility with a campaign to combat veteran suicides by making it easier for veterans to connect with each other and locate resources when they’re in need.

The goal is an old one — to combat suicide, depression, and alcoholism, and to smooth veterans’ transitions back into civilian life. And the tools are built into the social network, the people designing the new app say.

“Facebook can help because we understand the things that might tie you to other people in a community and can help find what’s best for you,” said Jake Brill, one of the Facebook employees working on the project.

The move is the latest in a gradual shift toward public engagement for the social giant. In 2007, Facebook launched its Causes.com platform to help grassroots groups organize, publicize their causes, and fundraise. It has helped register people as organ donors and has encouraged people to get out and vote with its “I voted” button. It continues to fight against cyberbullying, most recently with its reporting system that encourages victims to reach out to adults for help or talk to the bully directly.

And there’s no question of the need among returning veterans. According to a Department of Veterans Affairs report released today, approximately 18 to 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide each day. And nearly 19% of veterans who call the Veterans Crisis Line call more than once a month. The two-year study is the first comprehensive look at U.S. veteran suicide rates nationwide.

Currently there are thousands of Facebook pages for vet groups, but according to Brill, it can be hard to find the right information amongst the noise.

“There are so many organizations online, and you might happen on one serendipitously on Facebook,” says Brill. “The question is, how do you connect the dots and help people get to the right place?”

In collaboration with various experts who work closely with returning soldiers, Facebook is creating a curated list of vetted organizations and resources covering issues like mental health, job placement, and education opportunities for the Veterans App.

Facebook plans to include a specialized way for veterans to address posts and photos that indicate their fellow veterans are in immediate distress. They’re also given an option to send a message to a fellow veteran crafted by Facebook, suggesting specific resources for suicide, depression, alcoholism, or employment. Putting words in users’ mouths to help them talk to troubled friends might seem creepy, but it could also be life-saving. (Other Facebook experiments with crafting messages on behalf of users have been successful.)

There are already examples of veterans reaching out to each other on Facebook to help prevent suicides. One particularly startling example involved members from the Awesome Shit My Drill Sergeant Said group, where a soldier reached out for help when a fellow serviceman was attempting suicide. The group, while focused on humor, was able to mobilize veterans around the country who found the solider and saved his life.

“Since then we have taken that success, achieved by chance crowdsourcing, and have repeated it,” says Dan Cuddy, founder of the group, who served in Afghanistan. “We have saved 33 people and have engaged and connected with hundreds more.”

Since many veterans are hesitant to reach out for help, Facebook is using the Veterans App as an opportunity to test out some of their theories about how to encourage people to join groups. Working with social scientists, including psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo, psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, it is looking at ways to increase empathy and compassion between people online. It all sounds touchy feely and academic, but Facebook is convinced that it will work.

One current plan is to place information next to the Veterans App page about mutual friends and shared likes between the viewer and people in the group. The idea being that if you see people that like the same TV shows, music, books, movies, or celebrities, you are more likely to check it out and think about joining.

Just as with Facebook’s Graph search, the Veteran App’s success relies on getting more people to “like” stuff. When Mark Zuckerberg was asked at the Graph launch how Facebook was addressing the problem, he admitted it was a challenge. “People have been asking a long time to see who in their network like things,” Zuckerberg optimistically told the crowd.

If the Veterans App is successful, Facebook hopes to expand the model to offer services for other groups of people, such as those dealing with bullying or coping with disease.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/justinesharrock/facebook-will-fight-veteran-suicide-with-an-app

Should You Learn To Code?

United Artists

2. Is there an article telling you if you should learn to code?

There’s been a lot written about about what type of person should learn to code., it can be confusing. What about you?

Just pick the square that best describes you. If there’s more than one, you can refresh and pick again.

Should You Learn To Code?

  1. You got:

    Yes, learn to code

    Everyone should learn to code.

    Or whatever.

  2. You got:

    Yes, basketball fans should learn to code.

    NBA star Chris Bosh Why Everyone Should Learn To Code

    You don’t want to disappoint Chris Bosh, do you?

  3. You got:

    Yes, business people should learn to code

    The Harvard Business School Review says so: Should MBAs Learn to Code?

    Or whatever. Do whatever you want it’s a free country.

  4. You got:

    Yes, women should learn to code.

    Elle magazine says so: Why We Need Women Who Code

  5. You got:

    Yes, children should learn to code.

    The Guardian says so: Why Every Child Should Learn To Code

  6. You got:

    Yes, designers should learn to code

    Beacuse FastCo says so.

  7. You got:

    Yes, Doctors should learn to code

    Because the Digital Doctors Conference says so.

  8. You got:

    Yes, Justin Bieber should learn to code.

    So says some guy: Justin Bieber Should Learn How To Code

  9. You got:

    Yes, Bloomberg vowed to learn to code in 2012

  10. You got:

    Yes, blue collar students should learn to code

    Anil Dash says vocational schools should teach “blue collar coders”. He’s usually right so believe him: The Blue Collar Coder

  11. You got:

    Yes, marketers should learn to code

    Should Marketers Learn To Code In 2014?

  12. You got:

    Yes, geographers should learn to code

    Why Geographers Should Learn To Code

  13. You got:

    Maybe. Idk.

    PBS says: Why Journalists Should Learn To Code

    But then the Atlantic Wire:
    Should Journalism Schools Require Reporters to ‘Learn Code’? No

  14. You got:

    Ermmmm I guess?

    Well, this guy taught a homeless guy to code, and it went ok, but like………. don’t be that guy.

  15. You got:

    Yes, because Miss Utah proved it

    According to Forbes.com, Miss Utah’s inability to answer a question about income inequality proves that women should learn to code.

  16. You got:

    Yes, children should learn to code

    According to Medium: Why It’s Important To Teach Kids To Code

  17. You got:

    Yes, cats should learn to code

    On Medium: Teach Your Cat To Code

  18. You got:

    Yes, all majors should learn to code

    Should All Majors, Not Just Computer Science Majors, Learn to Code?

  19. You got:

    No, white men should not learn to code.

    Enough of you already.

    A & E

  20. You got:

    Yes, entrepreneurs should learn to code

    So says the Wall Street Journal:

    Do Tech Entrepreneurs Need to Know How to Code?

  21. You got:

    Yes, Estonians MUST learn to code.

    Estonia is now teaching programming to all first graders:

    Estonia Reprograms First Graders as Web Coders

  22. You got:

    Yes, all high schoolers should learn to code

    Google, Intel, Microsoft, and others lobbied the Massachusetts state government to make computer literacy classes required in public schools:
    Mandate computing classes, tech giants say

  23. You got:

    Yes, of course nannies should learn to code

    You don’t want your wee charges falling behind, do you?

  24. You got:

    Yes, disabled vets should learn to code

    Well, according to Reddit.

    I am a Disabled Iraq War Veteran who doesn’t know what to do with the rest of my life. Ask Me Anything.

  25. You got:

    No, Obama is too busy to learn to code.

    Jesus freaking Christ, like the man doesn’t have a country to run? He’s busy.

    However, Obama says everyone else should learn to code:

    Just Play With Your Phone, Program It!

  26. You got:

    Yes, feminists should learn to code

    Canadian feminists, at least:
    When She Codes, The Revolution’s Coming

    But also:

    Stop Telling Women They Just Need to Know How to Code

    United Artists

  27. You got:

    Duh, teen girls should learn to code

    There’s a whole program for it:

    Girls Who Code

  28. You got:

    Yes, rappers should learn to code

    Because Will.i.am says so:

    Will.i.am: ‘I want to write code!’


Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/katienotopoulos/should-you-learn-to-code