Jesse’s Story of the Day

Viewers, local celebrities help Jesse eliminate some medical debt in western WA


More people are coming forward looking to give to help families with medical debt.  Earlier this month, KIRO spent $12,000 dollars and forgave more than a million dollars in medical debt.  Since our original report aired, people across western Washington have stepped up and donated to help those in need, including some familiar faces.

Rick Rizzs, Mariners broadcaster, watched our reports on medical debt and felt he needed to do something to help.

“It gets you,” Rizzs said. “It reaches you right here.”

Rizzs has a long history of giving back to the community.  In 1995, he and former Mariners outfielder Dave Henderson started Toys for Kids.  Since then, the charity has raised more than two and a half million dollars, providing presents to tens of thousands of kids in need during the holidays.

“We saw a need in this community for these kids and we just acted on it,” Rizzs explained.  “Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to do is to take the first step and doing it.”

Rizzs said he was touched by the stories he’s seen over the past week about families buried in medical debt.

“They’re wondering how do I get out from under this, and how do I take care of my family and pay the bills,” Rizzs said.

He saw how KIRO bought a million dollars in medical debt for pennies on the dollar, and then forgave it all.

So Rizzs, just like for his charity, led with his heart and his checkbook.

“I’d like to give you five thousand dollars,” Rizzs told Jesse.

Rizzs’ donation comes from the Toys for Kids charity.  He joins former Sonics head coach and three-time hall of famer Lenny Wilkens and Restaurateur John Howie as celebrities that have wiped out hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt.

Viewers have given more than $20,000 dollars to the cause.  Add that to KIRO’s $12,000 dollars, and that means more than three million dollars worth of medical debt will be forgiven for families in our region.

You can donate here.  

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