Casey McIntyre was a beloved mother, wife, and book publisher when she died at 38 earlier this week.
The cause of her death was stage four ovarian cancer. Although the disease took her life, it seems that she refused to surrender her autonomy. McIntyre authored the announcement of her death, which was shared on Twitter and Instagram on November 14.
“A note to my friends: if you’re reading this I have passed away,” the post reads. “I’m so sorry, it’s horsesh*t and we both know it.”
“I loved each and every one of you with my whole heart and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved.”
The post is accompanied by a number of heartwarming images; McIntyre smiling joyfully with her husband and daughter on the beach, the birth of her child, her wedding, and more.
The post continues to share her wishes.
“To celebrate my life, I’ve arranged to buy up others’ medical debt and then destroy the debt,” it states. “I am so lucky to have access to the best medical care at [Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center] and am keenly aware that so many in our country don’t have access to good care.”
Attached to the message is a link for loved ones and supporters to donate to this fund to pay off the medical debt of strangers. As of the morning of November 15, nearly $28,000 in donations have been made, surpassing McIntyre’s original $20,000 goal and nearly meeting the updated threshold of $30,000.
An addendum to McIntyre’s post is added, sharing plans for her final farewell, which will include a memorial service and “debt jubilee.”
“We will celebrate her life by anonymously purchasing medical debt and then anonymously forgiving it, hopefully with a bonfire if they let us,” the post reads.
Attendees of the event are then encouraged to “wear something that expresses your deep sorrow at our loss, as well as something that expresses the joy you feel for having ever known Casey.”
The debt relief fund was created with nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which buys medical debt at cost to help millions of people pay off their thousands in debt. For every $100 donated, RIP Medical Debt is able to relieve $10,000 in debt.
This kind of generosity has not gone unnoticed. Under the Twitter thread, comments have flooded in, expressing grief — and gratitude — for McIntyre’s final wish.
“I did not know you, Casey, but your very generous gift to buy up others’ medical debt as a memorial moved me,” Twitter user Laura McConnell wrote. “You won’t get to see the impact of your legacy, but your family will, and so will the families of all the people you help.”
“I can’t breathe around the lump in my throat,” another user, WetlanderNW wrote. “What a legacy. This will be a change in my will when I update it.”
While McIntyre did draft this fond farewell post, it was edited by her husband, Andrew, to include a bit more information — celebrating her final months and reminiscing on the things that brought her the most joy.
“Casey meant to finish this post with a list of things that were a comfort and a joy to her during her life, and I am heartbroken that I will never see that list,” Andrew adds in an “editor’s note.”
“I imagine it would’ve included our daughter Grace, whales, ice cream, her beloved friends, being at the beach, her niece and nephews she incorrigibly doted on, reading 10 books on a weeklong vacation, her beloved parents and sister and their amazing extended family, swimming, a perfect roast beef sandwich, and me, her sweet sweet honey.”
The charitable action of forgiving medical debt is one many will not soon forget, but of course, McIntyre will be most fondly remembered by those who loved her most.
“Oh Casey,” Andrew’s note ends, “I don’t know how we will do it without you but we will.”