Health

Facebook Group Helps Man Raise Enough Money For Liver Transplant : NPR

“A car group where everyone talks like boomers” is a Facebook group dedicated to poking intergenerational fun. But Gary Rider says it also helped save his life.



STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, boomer. For those who don’t know, that’s a term of derision, said with an eye roll to someone who offers outdated thinking. But 57-year-old Gary Rider says it helped to save his life.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Two months ago, Gary’s doctors told him he needed a liver transplant. He’s taken medication for another illness, which damaged his liver.

INSKEEP: But a transplant was going to cost $40,000, and the prospect of raising that much was overwhelming.

GARY RIDER: The first week was the hardest. I really didn’t know whether I was coming or going.

MARTIN: Gary’s daughter started a GoFundMe page. For the first two months, it raised less than $200, more than $39,000 short. With just months to live, Gary desperately started selling things.

RIDER: I’ve sold my guns. I’ve sold my hunting equipment, fishing equipment, you know, anything that I was able to sell.

INSKEEP: Anything included an old air compressor. The ad for that compressor caught the attention of a Facebook group called – this is the name of the group – a car group where everyone talks like boomers. Gary Easterling (ph) is a member of it.

GARY EASTERLING: It’s a troll group where a bunch of us get on there and just comment, God bless and crank your hog on people trying to sell, like, lawn mowers and stupid stuff. We’re just a bunch of heathens, basically.

MARTIN: The group started by mocking the air compressor ad, but when they learned Gary Rider’s story, they said, OK, boomer, we’ll help. The group flooded Gary’s GoFundMe account with donations. He got about $50,000, enough to pay for his transplant and care afterwards.

RIDER: I went from depths of desperation into thinking, well, hey, I got a shot after all.

INSKEEP: He also went from being broke to having more than enough money. He stopped accepting donations after reaching his goal and says he wants to pay the extra forward. As for that air compressor…

RIDER: I still have it. I never plan to get rid of it. That’s the greatest air compressor in the world.

INSKEEP: OK, boomer – or millennial.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRACEY CHATTAWAY’S “EARLY LIGHT”)

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