How A University Of Pittsburgh Junior Is Helping Families Pay Their Medical Bills

The Pakistani immigrant founded the nonprofit Spread the Love Projects that so far has raised $17,000 toward this goal.


When Emaad Khan was volunteering as an emergency medical technician years ago, he often rode in the back of an ambulance to help patients as they were being transported.

“I remember one specific circumstance where we were at a car accident. We pulled someone into the back of the ambulance and their No. 1 concern was not how they were, not how their child was, not to call their parents or anything. It was, ‘I don’t want to do this because this is a $600 ambulance,’” Khan recalls. 

Khan was so troubled with the patient’s concern about medical costs that he vowed to do something about it. After conversations with his parents, he founded Spread the Love projects, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises money to help with pediatric medical costs and other essentials.

“People should not be sitting there worrying about [the cost],” says Khan, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. “There has to be some type of change.” 


The nonprofit raises money through merchandise sales, fundraising events and social media, and partners with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to distribute funds. Spread the Love Projects assists in paying medical bills, clothing, transportation and school supplies. 

As an immigrant from Pakistan, Khan, now 20, came to Pittsburgh in 2010 and has a personal connection to the issue. During his childhood, he did not have a pediatrician or yearly dental checkups and when he came to the United States he received his vaccinations through a federally funded center. 

“Whenever we came here, we had to get vaccinations and I just remember we’d go to this like really dark, sinister building, and I was so confused. I just went with it as a kid, but it was a federally funded vaccination center,” Khan says. “That was a part of my life that I guess I never connected the full dots.” 

He launched Spread the Love Projects in August 2022, and has so far raised $17,000. Of this, the nonprofit donated $5,000 to UPMC — $2,500 will be used for the UPMC Children’s Hospital social works department that emphasizes the needs of hospitalized patients and their families. The other $2,500 will be used for their community health and basic needs department, which focuses on out-patient needs, according to the Spread the Love Projects website. 



“Many thanks to Emaad Khan and Spread the Love Projects for spreading love to children and families through UPMC Children’s Basic Needs Fund,” said Anne Marie Kuchera, director of the Division of Community Health, in an email testimony. 

“Because of their generous donation, we were able to support families in meeting urgent needs for food, provide transportation to medical appointments, create healthier and safer homes, and purchase basic necessities for infants.” 

Applicants can request funding through the website and the distribution of donations is decided by a majority board of directors vote. Khan says they prioritize the local pediatric community and refugees and immigrants. 

“Charity starts at home so I definitely prioritize our local communities,” Khan says. “I prioritize the refugees and immigrants, but I think overall in the general sense, we prioritize the local community before anything else.”


Most donations, Khan says, come through clothing merch sales in addition to social media and fundraising events such as partnering with Pitt fraternities and sororities and donations from the Muslim community after prayer on Fridays.

“The Muslim community has shown such great support, and that’s been awesome,” Khan says.  “I think the key to fundraising is you have to dip your feet in as many waters as you can.” 

Khan says he aims to not only provide financial support for children and families with medical bills but also to raise awareness. 

“Our efforts don’t necessarily even fully revolve around getting donations but also spreading awareness for the cause [of struggling families with medical bills],” Khan says. 

While other larger organizations such as Ronald McDonald House have similar goals, Khan says Spread the Love Projects helps with immediate monetary support. 

“I was like if I wanted to go apply for money right now, I needed help this second, where would I go?” Khan says. “It was just an idea around two years ago, and then it took a year after that where I filed for all the work.” 

When developing his idea, Khan says he noticed his young age affected how seriously people took his idea. He says it was a challenge to get responses, which slowed his progress. However, the partnership with UPMC helped his credibility and increased his motivation. 

“I was so excited, but that’s when the work started,” Khan says. “I was like, we have something to prove now and it was a big motivation factor.” 

Khan hopes to attend medical school to become a physician. He wants to carry the nonprofit throughout med school and make the largest positive impact he can. 

“Overall, I see our organization growing and doing hundreds of thousands of donations per month. Our ultimate goal is to reach a million dollars in donations a year,” Khan says. 

Categories: The 412