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Fundraise for a friend: tips from GiveForward users

Fundraiser: Victor Rao Recovery Fund

Organizer: David

The Story: An average February Friday night turned into tragedy for Victor and Wilma Rao. The couple was driving to pick up their daughter when a drunk driver blew through a stop sign hitting them at 70mph. After being rushed to the hospital, Wilma was released a few days later while Victor was left with broken ribs, partial paralysis, blindness in one eye and brain damage among other injuries.

During Victor’s hospitalization, he wasn’t able to run his small freight forwarding business. The drunk driver who hit him was uninsured (as well as the owner of the car) and Victor’s insurance would only cover part of his medical expenses. Medical expenses began to pile up.

When David heard about his long time friend’s injuries and mounting medical expenses, he decided to take action. After reaching out to various non-profits without any results, David heard about GiveForward through a friend and decided to use the site to fundraise online, giving Victor and his family the financial help they needed.

The Fundraiser: David created a GiveForward page to tell Victor’s story. He uploaded photos and videos showcasing his friend as the artist and actor he knows and loves. Then he started small: David forwarded e-mails to people within his network of friends and co-workers who he knew made charitable donations. David noted how Victor’s medical expenses had become a heavy financial burden and how he hoped others would help.

David’s plan grew larger when he started to use social media to spread the word. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all told the story of an average Staten Island family man whose life drastically changed in a matter of seconds. Links to Victor’s GiveForward fundraiser page were posted everywhere and donations began to grow. David even got the local news to cover the story. To date the Victor Rao Recovery Fund has raised $54,945.

Although David has helped fundraise a tremendous amount of money, between the high medical expenses not covered by insurance and household remodel essential for Victor to get around, it’s only about half of what the Rao’s family needs to bring Victor home.

David’s #1 Fundraising Tip: “Don’t get a pizza man complex. Don’t be afraid to call back and ask for extra cheese.”

That is, don’t be afraid to ask people to donate and help you fundraise. According to David, “Your address book is a very empowering tool and no one will ever think you’re jerk for asking”.

Since the accident Victor has regained 80% of his cognitive ability and continues to show improvement. His friends and family are hoping to bring him home to a handicap friendly home within a matter of months. Please donate or send some love to the Rao family here.

Whose world will you change?