For Pete's Sake

Guy from thumbs-down meme started online fundraiser for his medical bills

This is perhaps the quintessential story about the digital age.

Gary Dunaier, whose claim to fame is being the subject of the Thumbs Down meme that is widely shared on Twitter and likely is available to be sent via text message on your phone, is raising money for medical treatments. He’s doing that online via a GoFundMe page.

Here is part of what Dunaier, a Mets fan, wrote: “I recently had a medical emergency that required a visit to the emergency room. One of my varicose veins opened up and I started bleeding spontaneously. I had to be brought to the hospital in an ambulance, sirens wailing, and I was immediately taken to the intensive care unit. The doctors later told me I lost so much blood that I almost died; at my lowest point I only had one liter of blood, compared to the normal 5-6 liters a body needs.

“I was in the hospital for five days, but even after being discharged I still need to recuperate and see doctors for follow-up visits. I’ve missed over a week of work because of this. Before this emergency, I’ve had medical problems that have required regular visits to doctors. And it’s come to a point where I’ve taken so much time off from work that I’ve used up all of my sick leave AND all of my vacation leave. So now when I need to be absent from work in order to go see a doctor, the time off is deducted from my paycheck.”

Dunaier set a goal of $2,000 on June 16, but had surpassed that total as of Wednesday. You can see more of what he wrote or contribute here.

Here is the story of his thumbs-down and how it took off and later became a meme: