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Crowdfunding sites continue to grow, help more families

posted Nov 25, 2014, 1:04 AM by J Shaw   [ updated Nov 25, 2014, 1:05 AM ]
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - James Oliphant says he's spent every minute of the last two weeks at UAMC, while his wife Sherrie awaits open heart surgery.

"It's just been a little bit of a nightmare," said James.

James says his 33-year-old wife has a tumor in one of her arteries, that's now growing into her heart.

"It's going to be the most trying surgery this hospital's ever seen," said James. 

The doctors tell them it will take multiple surgeons, up to 24 hours to complete the surgery, that's happening in just two days, which means James is at the hospital 24-7.

"I had to stop working," he said. "To tell you the truth, I don't even know when I can go back."

Kim Ward knows the Oliphants from church and says she needed a way to reach their entire support system. She started a campaign on gofundme one week ago, thinking $5,000 would be a realistic goal, and now they are on the home stretch of reaching it. 

"I just couldn't believe it," said Ward. "I know that people love them and would support them but I didn't have any idea it would be like that."

In the last four years, crowdfunding sites like gofundme have grown tremendously, especially when it comes to emergency funding for things like medical expenses.

Since 2011, medical donations on gofundme have grown by almost 6,000 percent.

In 2011, a little more than $1.6 million was raised. So far in 2014, campaigns like Ward's have raised almost a billion dollars. 

"I just can't thank everybody enough," said James. "I mean friends, family, strangers. I'm just very grateful to everybody, and so is Sherrie."

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