caleb medley

Will the Internet rally for an uninsured Aurora shooting victim with a newborn?

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Web communities have started getting into the habit of raising big sums of money for people and projects both highly dubious and much deserving.

Will they rally behind a survivor of the Aurora theater massacre?

Caleb Medley was having the week of his life. On Wednesday, the aspiring stand-up comic had made the cut for the biggest comedy contest in Denver. On Sunday, his wife, Katie, 40 weeks pregnant, was going to be induced into labor. And sandwiched perfectly in between those two life-changing events: the premiere of the The Dark Knight Rises on Thursday .

Medley and his wife were huge Batman fans. Along with some friends, they came to the midnight screening at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colo., decked out in their favorite costumes.

Fifteen minutes in, a man entered through the emergency door, tossed a tear gas canister into the room and began firing.

Katie escaped. Medley was shot in the face.

This was how Katie described the scene, according to Michael West, a friend who posted the story to Reddit:

“I thought it was a prank at first, or someone playing along with the movie because it happened during a fight scene.” Katie told me. Then he opened fire, and Caleb was shot in the right eye as they all tried to duck in cover. “I thought he was dead, because there was so much blood, but he was still moving, and he kept running his fingers through his hair.”

Medley was the fourth person taken from the theater, according to Katie. Police put him right in the back of a cop car and rushed him to the University of Colorado Hospital. He survived, but he lost his right eye and suffered brain damage. Doctors induced Katie into labor, meanwhile, on Monday—in the very same hospital, according to West. She gave birth to a baby boy, Hugo.

One floor up, as his was being born, Medley laid in a medically induced coma.

And when he’s finally out, he’ll have no way to pay for it all.  

He has no medical insurance.

West and other friends are taking the route that’s worked for so many others. They’ve launched an Internet fundraiser.

“Caleb, Katie and Baby Hugo need your help,” the donation page reads. “They need your prayers and good thoughts but unfortunately, they will also need financial assistance.”

West turned to Reddit to rally support.

The social news site has launched legendary fundraisers in the past: Last year, redditors raised $50,000 in a day for Lucas Gonzalez, a 3-year-old with a rare blood disease. Redditors also led the fundraising charge for harassed bus monitor Karen Klein, which closed out at $700,000.

“Caleb is a friend, a husband, a son, and about to be a father,” West wrote in Reddit’s historically generous r/assistance community. “Caleb and his family have no insurance, and these hospital bills are going to be well into the hundreds of thousands if not millions.”

With West’s post to r/assistance and the launch of an official Facebook page, the Medley family collected about $1,500.

That’s well short of the $500,000 they say they need. What will it take for Medley’s fundraiser to reach a Karen Klein level of viral fame? We’re not sure. Luck, timing, mainstream media attention. But one thing is clear so far: Internet, you can do much better.

Photo via Support Caleb/Facebook