The campaign had raised $1,215 from donors in six states as of May 18, more than $11,000 short of its goal. Then the massacre in Santa Fe happened, and the world offered its sympathy to the family. As of Tuesday, donors had pledged more than $120,000, ...and more »
In a grim layering of American tragedies, a 67-year-old man with a lung disease was able to crowdfund his medical treatment only after his wife died in the Santa Fe, Tex., school shooting.
Cynthia Tisdale, 63, a substitute teacher at Santa Fe High School, was among the victims in Friday’s shooting, in which a student used a shotgun and a handgun to kill eight students and two teachers.
She had hoped to one day retire and be a “full-time grandmother,” said John Tisdale, her brother-in-law. “It will never happen.”
Her husband, William Tisdale, was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which leads to scarring of the lungs, making it harder to breathe. He was denied a lung transplant in December, when he was told he had 12 to 18 months to live, according to the family’s GoFundMe page. Ms. Tisdale had taken the substitute teaching job partly to help pay his medical bills.
His family believed his best hope was an experimental stem cell treatment, which wasn’t covered by insurance and would cost $13,000.
“With the procedure I have a chance for more time with your momma (my wife of 47 years), my children, and my wonderful grandchildren who I so much want to see grow up as much as possible,” he said in a letter to his son that was posted on the GoFundMe page, which was created on March 29. “I fear without this I won’t make it to see 2019.”
The family initially got little support. The campaign had raised $1,215 from donors in six states as of May 18, more than $11,000 short of its goal.
Then the massacre in Santa Fe happened, and the world offered its sympathy to the family. As of Tuesday, donors had pledged more than $120,000, coming from all 50 states and at least 33 countries, according to Katherine Cichy, a GoFundMe spokeswoman.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Tisdale said that he was overwhelmed by the support, and that there might now be enough money to afford a lung transplant, which had previously seemed too expensive. At the very least, he’ll be able to afford the stem cell treatment.
“But I’d rather not,” he said. “I’d rather have her. It isn’t worth it.”
Mr. Tisdale’s son, William Tisdale Jr., said in an interview on Tuesday that the family has an appointment scheduled this week to get a second opinion on whether he would be a viable candidate for a transplant, which he wasn’t considered before.
Mr. Tisdale Jr. said the extra money would help the family hire home health care for his father, a role his mother had performed, and cover the costs of her funeral.
Mr. Tisdale said his wife had worked with special education students, happily taking their calls at night to help them prepare for exams. In addition to Mr. Tisdale’s medical bills, she was working to support her daughter, whose home took on two feet of water during Hurricane Harvey.
“There was never a question whether she enjoyed the job or not,” he said. “She adored it.”
On Twitter, the intersection of the tragedies was grist for a lot of head-shaking. “This is the gofundme for the man with terminal cancer whose wife had to go back to work to pay for it and was murdered in school the other day,” one person tweeted.
Another user replied: “We’ve condensed America down to one tweet.”
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