Before dying, she made a fund to cancel others' medical debt — nearly $70M worth
Casey McIntyre wanted her legacy to be clearing medical debt for others. But her husband Andrew Gregory says they never dreamed it would get this far.
Who is she? McIntyre was a mother, wife and publisher at Penguin Random House.
What did she do? Inspired by the philanthropy of others, McIntyre and Gregory orchestrated what they called a "debt jubilee" in her honor.
a note to my friends: if you’re reading this I have passed away. I’m so sorry, it’s horseshit and we both know it. The cause was stage four ovarian cancer.— Casey McIntyre (@caseyrmcintyre) November 14, 2023
I loved each and every one of you with my whole heart and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved. pic.twitter.com/xCtiD93S7T
to celebrate my life, I've arranged to buy up others' medical debt and then destroy the debt. I am so lucky to have had access to the best medical care at @MSKCancerCenter and am keenly aware that so many in our country don't have access to good care. https://t.co/8gAJm5agcp pic.twitter.com/9JOkEoIfsA— Casey McIntyre (@caseyrmcintyre) November 14, 2023
Want to learn about another woman's lasting legacy? Listen to Consider This on the life and work of Rosalynn Carter.
What's her husband saying? Gregory spoke with All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro about his wife's life and legacy.
On what she was like:
Casey was very, very, very funny. She was just a hilarious woman. From our very first date, she was cracking me up, and I was cracking her up. And we never stopped laughing even while, frankly, you know, she was struggling with her diagnosis of stage 4 ovarian cancer for four years. When I look back at that, it's pretty remarkable.
On how they came to this decision:
Last March, we saw a video online that was a little bit of a viral post where a Moravian church in Winston-Salem, N.C., not too far from where I grew up, burned $3 million of debt. And one thing they did that was really cool is all local debt.
They've destroyed all of the medical debt in Yadkin County, N.C. And I just think that is really cool. And I showed that post to Casey, and they had done it through RIP Medical Debt as well.
And Casey came very, very close to dying around the end of May. And while she was in the hospital, we came to an agreement that this is what we were going to do. And Casey was very excited about it. And she got out of the hospital, which — we were very lucky that she did. She entered home hospice at the recommendation of her oncologist, and we were really lucky that she lived for six months.
On how many people they've helped:
I do not think Casey could have possibly imagined this response — the global press coverage it's gotten — even as I think she would have thought that it would have gotten some notice.
I was able to talk to the CEO of RIP Medical Debt, Allison Sesso. And one thing that really blew me away is I said to her, like, "Hey, we set this up as a national campaign. Would it be possible to maybe shift it to be more like New York City? Because Casey was such a consummate New Yorker."
And Allison said, "Andrew, this is too much medical debt for New York City for us to buy. We have to do a bigger area."
So, what now?
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