Nearly 1,800 people have donated nearly $250,000 to cancer-stricken evangelist Nabeel Qureshi's GoFundMe page in the first 12 days since the account was established.
As previously reported, Qureshi, an author and former speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer last August and was given a 4 percent chance of surviving past the next five years.
Qureshi underwent chemotherapy and revealed earlier this month that the treatment didn't work. His cancer spread and his already-small chances of survival are now even smaller.
On May 19, Qureshi launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding account.
In a YouTube video posted on the GoFundMe page, Qureshi explained that all money donated to the GoFundMe account will go toward his medical expenses, and any funds left over, should he die, would go to help his daughter, Ayah, pay for an education and his wife, Michelle, pay for other costs.
Although Qureshi is currently covered by health insurance paid for by RZIM, he explained that health insurance will end in the beginning of 2018. Additionally, he is also about to undergo immunotherapy treatment, which he says costs up to $20,000 per dose.
Although Qureshi was initially hesitant to accept money from other people, considering he and Michelle believed they had saved enough to where they could handle the costs of moving to Houston and medical costs even though Qureshi is out of work, Qureshi explained that he has had numerous people tell him they want to help him out financially.
"Over the past few days, so many people have asked to donate, even people who said, 'Nabeel, we understand you don't need it but we still want to help.' That made me reevaluate whether I should be opening up an avenue for people to be able to contribute if they want,'" Qureshi explained in the video. "That's when I realized that we actually do have needs that I haven't realized before."
Qureshi said he realized that his health insurance plan will expire in 18 months and that his life insurance policy that he bought two months before he was diagnosed in August 2016 is now in jeopardy because of a two-year window of contestability.
He explained that he received a letter from a lawyer expressing concern that "there may be some fraud" involved with his policy.
"I just bought some life insurance just before getting diagnosed. You don't really think about life insurance in your 20s. So, we were in our early 30s and I was buying life insurance and I got diagnosed two months later. But now, it looks like that life insurance might not be there for Michelle and for Ayah if something were to happen to me and that got me worried," he explained. "Add to that the reality that I still don't have a job. I was kind of praying that by now, the treatment would have progressed and I would be at a point where I would be able to start working regularly. That hasn't happened."
As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,797 donors have donated a total of $249,270 to Qureshi's GoFundMe page. Qureshi's goal for the page is $1 million.
"I am not able to anticipate what my costs will be, which is the reason for the high goal of $1M," Qureshi wrote on the GoFundMe account. "Should the worst happen, I hope to leave the remainder of these funds to my bride Michelle and my little daughter Ayah."
Qureshi has also raised $11,450 through the crowdfunding site Patreon, which allows artists and webcreators to raise funds for work that wouldn't normally receive pay.
"In my case, I want to minister online. I want to share the Gospel and I want to keep doing my blog updates and stuff that I used to teach about. I have studied a lot of things and I used to do a lot of traveling and teaching. But, I can't do my traveling and teaching anymore, therefore, people can't pay me on a salary or what have you. I want to offer that teaching now for free online," Qureshi said in the YouTube video.
"Based on how much I get per month will be how much I put out. I will keep putting out blogs and if people donate a certain amount a month, a thousand dollars a month, I will be putting out an educational video once per month. If it's $2,000 per month, I will put out two education videos per month. The more that people donate and contribute to the cause, the more teaching I can do."
Qureshi added that he is hoping to establish a nonprofit organization so that donations made to his ministry will be tax deductible.