Before Badass Digest I had no insurance. I was without insurance for almost ten years, in fact; any injury or serious sickness was scary not just for my health but for my bank account. The United States of America is a great country... unless you happen to be sick and have no insurance. Then it's a total nightmare.
Many, many people in my profession go through life without health care. Most of us are not paid that well, and buying your own insurance is expensive, and the stuff you can afford is usually all but worthless. When I was without insurance I priced plans that had deductibles in the five digits.
One of those people without insurance is a guy named Ed Douglas. I first met Ed in New York at the turn of this century. There was a weird little mini-mafia of online guys at the time, guys who were grown-ups and doing screenings and junkets for a living but still getting stuck in the same room as the college journalists. I was there, and so was Ed. So was a guy named Dan Epstein, a big, funny, smart, garrolous man who was a dear friend of mine. Dan dropped dead suddenly in 2007. I moved to LA. Ed kept on being Ed.
Now Ed is facing something almost unimaginable: this week he was diagnosed with acute leukemia. This is a curable disease, but it's also a very, very serious one. Ed was diagnosed while in Las Vegas for CinemaCon; instead of flying back to his place in New York he has been brought to a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where he can be near his family. He's going to be starting chemo this week. Things have been tough for him, and they're about to get tougher.
And on top of everything else he has to worry about paying the hospital bill. Because Ed doesn't have insurance.
Isn't it crazy that our system is set up in such a way that saving your life saddles you with a crushing, unpayable debt? Is this really how we should be running a society? Isn't the whole point of having a civilization so that we can get together and help each other out and be there when one of us needs a little extra help?
Well, that's exactly what some of us film blog types are doing for Ed. This could happen to any of us, and only a few lucky ones in the group would have the ability to actually pay for the urgent, life-saving medical care needed. We're banding together to raise money to help Ed pay for his treatment, to at least chip away at the costs he's facing. We're raising money here, and I hope you can help in some small way. If you've ever read and liked Ed's work at Coming Soon, where he does interviews, reviews and used to write a column called The Weekend Warrior, this is a good way to show some small amount of appreciation. Any donation helps, no matter how small. Hell, just knowing that people care enough to give is exactly the kind of positive energy Ed needs right now as he sits in the hospital, waiting for his bone marrow tests to begin.
Ed's a character, that's for sure. He's quick to get into a fight online, so I think he's pretty well-equipped to start a flamewar with leukemia. We're all going to have his back. Join us.