When Mary Isham’s pancreatic cancer metastasized a year ago, she believed her only hope of survival was a cutting-edge radiation treatment offered in Europe. To help save Isham’s life, her friends turned to the Internet to get the financial support she desperately needed.
When her rare form of the disease was diagnosed in 1999, Isham underwent surgeries to remove her pancreas, gallbladder and spleen, as well as part of her stomach and intestines. In the summer of 2012, after learning that Isham’s cancer had spread to her liver, her friends Micky Duxbury and Linda John turned to the crowdfunding website GiveForward.com to raise enough money to send Isham to Germany for a course of three radiation treatments.
“It started with 10 people and grew from there,” says Isham, now 64. “People from my neighborhood in San Francisco, my yoga class and friends of friends all came together to spread the word through e-mails and Facebook. They created an online support network, where they made donations, left messages and sent virtual hugs.”