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Crowdfunding Campaign For Mary Lou Retton Raises Over $100,000

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Mary Lou Retton, the gymnast who won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics, is currently in an ICU unit at a Texas hospital with a rare form of pneumonia, according to a report from the Associated Press. Retton doesn’t have health insurance, which has prompted her daughter to start a crowdfunding campaign which has already surpassed its original goal.

“My amazing mom, Mary Lou, has a very rare form of pneumonia and is fighting for her life,” Retton’s daughter McKenna Kelley wrote at the crowdfunding website Spotfund.

“She is not able to breathe on her own. She’s been in the ICU for over a week now. Out of respect for her and her privacy, I will not disclose all details. However, I will disclose that she not insured,” Kelley continued.

The crowdfunding goal was originally started at $50,000, but has already exceeded $164,000 by Wednesday morning from over 3,500 donors. Spotfund allows donors to provide text messages along with their donations, and there’s been an outpouring of support for the Olympic gold medalist, with words of encouragement coming in from thousands of fans.

The 55-year-old Retton was just 16 years old when she took gold at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and won not just a gold medal but two silver medals and two bronze, as the Associated Press notes.

Crowdfunding for medical expenses has become a common occurrence here in the 2020s, with many people turning to websites like GoFundMe and Spotfund to receive basic care for survival. Roughly 10.2% of Americans under the age of 65 don’t have health insurance, according to the latest figures available from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a figure that makes the U.S. unique among wealthy countries for not achieving universal health care, either through a single-payer system like Canada and the UK or a multi-payer system like Germany and Australia.

“We ask that if you could help in any way, that 1) you PRAY! and 2) if you could help us with finances for the hospital bill,” Retton’s daughter wrote at Spotfund.

“ANYTHING, absolutely anything, would be so helpful for my family and my mom. Thank y’all so very much!”

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