|Title||What was lost, missing, sought and hoped for: Qualitatively exploring medical crowdfunding campaign narratives for Lyme disease|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Vassell A, Crooks VA, Snyder J|
|Keywords||contested illness, illness narrative, Lyme disease, medical crowdfunding|
Lyme disease remains a contested illness in Canada, thereby making the diagnostic and treatment journeys difficult for some people. One outcome of this is that increasing numbers of people are turning to medical crowdfunding to support access to alternative therapies, non-local health care providers and assist with managing the costs of everyday life. In this analysis, we qualitatively explore the narratives shared in Canadians’ crowdfunding campaigns to support Lyme disease treatment or diagnosis to identify whether or not any common elements shared in these narratives exist, and if so, what they are. We identified 238 campaigns for inclusion from three prominent crowdfunding platforms. Thematic analysis of the campaign narratives shows four consistent themes shared in these campaigns: what is lost (e.g. bodily ability), what is missing (e.g. local care options), what is sought (e.g. funds to cover treatment abroad) and what is hoped for (e.g. return to wellbeing). These themes demonstrate the highly personal and emotional nature of medical crowdfunding, particularly in the context of a contested illness that may lead some to question the legitimacy of one’s financial need. This analysis contributes valuable new insights to the nascent scholarship on medical crowdfunding, and particularly to our understanding of how people communicate about their health and bodily needs on this public platform. It also identifies important directions for future research, including the potential for crowdfunding narratives to be used for advocacy.