GLENDALE (CBSLA.com) — Cash-strapped families are embracing the concept of “crowdfunding” to meet the financial challenges that may result when a loved one is diagnosed with a medical condition.
GoFundMe.com is one of several personal donation websites helping families like Dorrie Nutall of Glendale raise money online through donations.
She told CBS2’s Rick Garcia that she discovered her 3-year-old son, Luke, had diabetes last year.
Nutall said, “They did a finger prick and they said, ‘Your son, his blood sugar is over 500. He has diabetes. You need to go to the hospital.'”
Nutall said the continual checking of Luke’s blood sugar levels every two hours and the responsibility that comes along with it was overwhelming at times.
“If I sleep through an alarm, he could have a seizure or go into a coma and die,” she said.
That’s where Jedi — a three-month-old diabetic alert dog — could make all the difference by detecting when Luke’s sugars are high or low based on his breath.
A dog like Jedi can cost up to $10,000 — something Nutall said she couldn’t afford.
“I said, ‘If everybody just gave $1, I could give my son a better life,'” Nutall said. “I went to GoFundMe and I wrote a story about why we need this dog and why this dog would be helpful to our family and to Luke.”
Garcia also spoke with 12-year-old Victor Castro from Chatsworth who learned that he had a baseball-sized tumor growing near his heart last August.
Although the Castros have health insurance, they are responsible for 30 percent of Victor’s medical bills.
“One single injection out of pocket was 1,500 dollars for one injection,” Karla Castro, Victor’s mom, explained.
A close friend created a GoFundMe.com account for Victor with a goal of raising $15,000.
“It was just amazing how through this website, it reached out to our entire family and friends. And like Victor said … people we didn’t even know,” Castro said.
Among his donors – Paris Hilton — who made a $2,500 donation after meeting Victor at Children’s Hospital.
Although there is no cost to creating a “crowdfunding” account, the fundraising companies may take a percentage of your donations. GoFundMe.com, for instance, takes 5 percent. Donors are urged to research the cause before giving.