Friends and family members of Ryan Woods of Vancouver have seen firsthand the power of crowdfunding sites and community fundraisers.
A little over a year ago, Woods was diagnosed with cancer. Surgeons removed most of the small tumor on his spinal cord but couldn’t get it all. Chemotherapy and radiation were unsuccessful.
The tumors multiplied until Woods’ spinal cord became encased in a sheath of tumor. Woods, 30, began hospice care in October.
Woods’ friends, family and neighbors rallied to host numerous fundraisers to help Woods pay his medical bills. Those efforts continue so that when Ryan is gone, his wife, Jessica, and their two children, 7-year-old Jones and 5-year-old India, won’t be burdened by unpaid bills, said Ryan’s friend Chris Chapin.
Community garage sales brought in about $2,500. An event at Vancouver Pizza Company raised about $6,000. Another event at Pop Culture in Uptown Village raised at least $6,000. A benefit concert at Kiggins Theatre raised another $3,000, Chapin said.
In an effort to reach a broader network, Chapin and other friends of the family launched online fundraisers.
The drive on the GiveForward site had raised about $2,500. The other fundraiser, on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, has raised more than $27,000.
The Woods’ story caught the eye of actor Rainn Wilson of NBC’s “The Office.” In 2008, Wilson founded SoulPancake, a website and movement to encourage people to explore what it means to be human through the stories of others.
SoulPancake featured the Woods family in a video titled “My Last Days.” The video was published on YouTube on Oct. 2.
— Marissa Harshman