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Ithaca woman champions campaign to erase medical debt for over 1,000

An 85-year-old Ithaca resident, Judy Jones, has brought early Christmas relief to more than a thousand Central New Yorkers by erasing their medical debt. This marks Jones’s third campaign in partnership with RIP Medical Debt, an organization dedicated to alleviating medical debt for those most in need. Recipients are set to discover their reduced debt through a letter from RIP Medical Debt, potentially seeing up to $20,000 in relief.

Jones was driven to action by the crippling effects of medical debt on her neighbors, including the threat of liens on homes and the inability to secure loans for essential needs. The campaign specifically targets individuals earning less than four times the federal poverty level or who have debts constituting at least 5% of their annual income. Jones, along with local second graders and community organizations, raised over $14,000, which translated into more than $2.6 million of settled debt due to the organization’s ability to buy debt in bulk from the secondary market.

The community-driven effort exemplified by second graders selling lemonade and cookies and local donations reflects a powerful grassroots movement against medical debt. While not every individual’s debt will be entirely cleared, the significant reduction will undoubtedly ease the financial burden for many. Recipients unsure about their debt relief are encouraged to check their credit reports for improvements, as names of beneficiaries are kept anonymous. This initiative underscores a significant stride toward financial healing and community solidarity in Central New York.