Jim and Katy Bridges were happily married for 22 years. Their two boys, James and Jack, were their world. They loved watching their sons play basketball, and they attended as many tournaments and games as possible. Despite significant challenges to their health, Jim and Katy maintained their lives with optimism and dignity.
In 2005, Katy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the protective coverings of nerves. Although MS is a remarkably painful and degenerative condition, Katy has been able to manage it with medication. Then, in 2012, doctors identified inoperable tumors on Jim’s liver. For more than five years, Jim received chemotherapy and radiation treatments. It appeared as though the tumors were shrinking and remaining inactive. But in July 2017, his condition took a turn for the worse. In August, Jim Bridges passed away.
Jim was the family’s primary provider, and his work allowed the family to be covered under health insurance. After his passing, Katy was faced with tremendous medical bills and the additional worry of potentially losing health insurance that provides her medications. With the help of Jim’s brother, Jeff Bridges, she established a RedBasket.org fundraising campaign in an effort to afford current and future medical expenses, and the campaign was exceptionally successful. The Bridges family campaign raised $42,600, exceeding their initial goal of $20,000.
In an effort to help others considering a fundraiser through RedBasket.org, Jeff is sharing what made this campaign so successful:
- Spread the word. “Really, it was the love people had for my brother. Everyone wanted to do something to help his family,” said Jeff. Through sharing their story on Facebook, the Bridges were able to increase awareness of the campaign. This provided friends and family the opportunity to help.
- Involve the community. There were many people without Facebook or other social media who were willing to offer their support for the Bridges. “Anyone who wants to help a family or cause needs to be active in that cause,” Jeff said. “Pick up the phone and let people know about it. If just one person is involved, the story won’t reach as many.”
- Updates on the application of funds. “Katy was dumbfounded with how much people wanted to help,” said Jeff. The family was open about their financial situation following Jim’s passing. Knowing their donations would be used to cover a combination of Jim and Katy’s medical expenses encouraged donors to contribute to the cause.
The Bridges family continues to celebrate Jim’s life as an incomparable father and husband. They are extremely grateful for the love and support of friends, family, and their community. “Thanks to the support of donors, Katy does not have to worry about medical debt and health insurance payments, daily expenses, or her medications,” Jeff said.
To learn more about the Bridges family campaign, visit their project page: https://redbasket.org/1441/relieving-the-bridges-family-financial-burden .