Emaad Khan said he thought many patients were more worried about their medical bills than their health. So he started a non-profit organization called spread the love to help families cover the costs of pediatric patients.
“I started working as a paramedic at a fire station, and that’s when I realized that people who walk into ambulances don’t care about what’s wrong, they care about the cost,” said said Khan, a young biology student. “That’s when I started connecting my passions for healthcare to my own experiences growing up. That’s why I didn’t have a pediatrician.
Spread The Love is a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that strives to raise awareness and funds for families struggling with pediatric medical bills through fundraisers, giving campaigns, and social media. . According to Khan, the organization partnered with UPMC Children’s Hospital to distribute funds to patients.
Khan said that although he dreams of becoming a doctor in the future, he recently realized the high cost associated with healthcare bills. He said he believes he “wouldn’t lose any wealth when I give it to people who need it.”
“When I was growing up, I didn’t come from a wealthy family,” Khan said. “I was born in Pakistan and we moved here in 2010. We never had healthcare. I have never had a pediatrician in my life and when you come to the United States you have to get vaccinated. We were going to a community vaccination center funded by the federal government.
Khan said he launched the organization two months ago and wanted to find partnerships before launching the organization publicly. He said he contacted UPMC Children’s Hospital Customer Service as a “shot in the dark” to determine if he could partner with them.
“After calling them, I think for a week I didn’t hear anything,” Khan said. “I didn’t think anything was going to come out of it. I was in my room one day and got a missed call from Alana Calesa, the Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, and she said, “We’d love to partner with you. . We got the partnership before we even got started because I really wanted something like that. I thought it would help our credibility, especially because I’m 20 years old. It’s hard for people to take me seriously and see us as a great club. ”
UPMC Children’s Hospital has two different pathways to distribute funds to patients in need – the social work pathway and the basic community health needs sector. Khan said that when he sends the donations that Spread The Love acquires, he can choose which avenue the money goes to.
“They have inpatients who come in and need transportation and food in the cafeteria, so the funds will go towards that,” Khan said. “They also have an area outside the hospital for parents who need help paying for their children’s medication.
Khan said UPMC Children’s Hospital sends him annual reports to document the distribution of funds. He said that since the organization started, they have raised about $5,000. Of the donations, $2,500 went to Social Work Avenue, while the remaining $2,500 went to the Community Health Basic Needs sector.
“We actually went to a Pitt hatchback and raised money there,” Khan said. “We went around and talked to people and it was a very humbling experience. We also went to a local mosque and collected a good amount of money there. We dropped off in front of Hillman the other day and handed out free t-shirts to raise awareness. We also sell shirts on our website and then all of these profits go to our cause.
Sulaman Rajput, Community Outreach Manager, said the organization is currently working on setting up future events to raise funds for the patients. Rajput, a junior biology student, said the organization hopes to promote its events to the entire Pittsburgh community rather than just students.
“We want to set up a local donation campaign,” Rajput said. “We want to reach the whole community. We don’t just want to give money. We also want to help physically by visiting and volunteering at the Children’s Hospital. We are also planning a toy drive.
Madyson Godwin, chief operating officer, said Spread The Love also allows families across the country to apply for funding whether or not they are receiving treatment at UPMC Children’s Hospital. She said parents can also request donations directly through their website.
“If you go to our website, at the top there’s an application page,” said Godwin, a sophomore in psychology. “Parents can fill out an application, and once it’s completed, we review it to see how we can help them. Parents just have to tell us their story.
Khan said he was looking to partner with other local pediatricians in Pittsburgh to distribute the funds.
“We are exploring this slowly,” Khan said. “Right now, we are trying to use our credibility with UPMC to win as much money as possible. One thing I’m really adamant about is that we don’t give money. It’s going to be needs-based, and we’re going to meet that need as best we can. »