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Hardcore for Healthcare: Fundraiser Shines Light on Medical Debt


Brad Bynum of Elephant Rifle. Image: Bob Conrad.
Brad Bynum of Elephant Rifle. Image: Bob Conrad.

View a photo gallery below.

It may not have been evident at Sunday’s concert at Wingfield Park. Local bands Fall Silent and Elephant Rifle rankled their friends and fans, an audience of a few hundred, with noise and hardcore. They were playing to raise money to cover a local family’s medical bills.

Margaret “Margot” Choltco was diagnosed last year with cancer. It was invasive. The news completely halted her and her family’s life so she could get treatment.

Her life-partner Brad Bynum took leave as editor of the Reno News & Review, and Choltco started radiation and chemotherapy.

They had a baby, and she could no longer breastfeed.

“Over the past couple of months, post-treatment, we’ve had countless nights of baby-wants-to-party between midnight and 3 a.m.,” she wrote on Facebook. “And for months the primary child-minder was Papa Brad.”

The Reno community rallied around the family.

“For months now, I have greatly appreciated all the love you have shared in the form of home-cooked meals, flowers, cards, donations, and good vibes. It all made a big difference in our family’s life,” Choltco added.

Levi Watson, left, and Danny Galecki of Fall Silent. Image: Bob Conrad.

Sunday’s “Lake’s Crossing Rock and Pop Festival” was a fundraiser to cover their medical bills. Choltco is among the tens of millions of Americans whose health insurance does not cover all costs.

Choltco and Bynum set up a GoFundMe account, adding to the nearly 50% of online campaigns that exist to pay for medical bills, including routine health expenses.

Business Insider in 2017 reported nearly 15,000 GoFundMe pages just for prescription costs. And the website Nerd Wallet found that only 11% of the medical fundraisers reached their goal in 2015.

Healthcare costs in America drive bankruptcies, Nerd Wallet explained.

Papa Brad serenades his toddler Clyde at Wingfield Park. Image: Bob Conrad.
Papa Brad serenades his toddler Clyde at Wingfield Park. Image: Bob Conrad.

An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that “Crowdfunding is an especially effective and popular tool in the realm of supporting charitable or ideological causes. Increasingly prevalent in this realm is crowdfunding for health care costs.”

While her prognosis now is looking better, Choltco and her family are among those seeking help.

“Even with health insurance, she has accumulated tens of thousands of dollars owed in medical bills,” their campaign explains. “In addition, she hasn’t been able to work full-time for over a year.”

They’ve raised $11,000 of $30,000 they need. Yesterday’s show in the park helped, but they still have a long way to go.


Visit their GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/margot-beats-cancer-fund

The photo gallery below is of the bands Schizopolitans, Elephant Rifle (Bynum is the vocalist), and Fall Silent.

CORRECTION: This article originally reported “tens of thousands” of Americans are underinsured. The correct figure is tens of millions: 41 million, or 28% of the U.S. population in 2016 were underinsured, according to the 2016 Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.