Dear Dr. Phil,
Hopefully, that got your attention. I know you are bombarded with emails and letters from people needing help with relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, troubled teens and more. But, the story that I am telling in this letter is so crucial and necessary for every person to know before they give 1 penny to a charity raising money for someone with a life threatening illness, such as, cancer. **This does not apply to all charities or fundraisers.** There are thousands of real and legitimate fundraisers for people who are sick and in need. But, there are some that are, unfortunately, fraudulent and misleading kindhearted people. I hope you will read my letter and respond to me soon.
I would like to tell you about a mother. She is the mom of 3 beautiful girls. Two of her girls are healthy and living. And, one child is an angel in Heaven. On September 22, 2010, her oldest girl passed away from acute myeloid leukemia-AML. She was only 17-years-old. She was diagnosed with AML on July 3, 2010 and died just 2 months later. Losing her daughter has been the worst thing that has ever happened in her life. Dwelling over the days leading up to her daughter’s death and being with her as she took her last breath continues to break her heart. She stood by, helplessly, as she watched her girl suffer and slip away. Since her daughter’s death, she pushes herself to get up each day and be the mom and wife that her family needs her to be. She would never wish a life as a bereaved mother on her worst enemy…..This story of a girl with cancer is TRUE.
I’d like to tell you about another mother. She is the mom of 7 children. Her youngest child, a girl, had leukemia. Cancer made her weak and fatigued, her hair fell out due to chemotherapy, and she wore a surgical mask everywhere she went to protect her from bacteria and viruses that could, potentially, end her life. Her caring community where she lived opened their hearts for the girl and created fundraisers, such as, charity bake sales, sponsored walks/runs, car washes and church donations to help the family pay for the child’s medical bills. The young girl had to undergo counseling to discuss how she felt about dying. And, as Christmas was approaching, her parents told her the devastating news that this would be her last one; she was going to die.
……..This story of a girl with cancer is FALSE.
The first story is about about my daughter, Kayla; she really suffered and died from acute myeloid lukemia. The second story is about a girl named Hannah. Hannah did not have cancer, but, her parents convinced her that she did. They gave her sleeping pills and other drugs to make her sleepy and to feel sickly. They shaved her head to give the appearance that she lost her hair due to chemotherapy. She was told by her parents that she would only have one more Christmas and she would die soon after. Teachers at Hannah’s school became suspicious when they noticed stubble growing back on her head from where her hair had fallen out from chemotherapy. At that time, the local authorities confronted the parents and they confirmed that her daughter was healthy and did not have cancer. The girl was so happy to learn that she was not going to die. However, her parents faced fraud charges later. It is such a disgusting and disturbing thing that was done to this young and innocent girl. Her parents were supposed to love and protect her. But, instead, they committed fraud by using their daughter.
I write a blog about a mother’s journey through life after losing a child to cancer. In the summer of 2013, an anonymous person sent me a private message. They said, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but, someone is pretending to be you and your 3 daughters on the internet.” I was shocked and I didn’t know what to do. The anonymous person told me the impostor’s blog name and twitter account name. I began searching the internet to see what I could find. It didn’t take long until I found it; a blog with my content and pictures of my children, as well as, a twitter account. I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Who could do this? Who could really pretend that they had a child dying with cancer? Many people went to the impostor’s blog and twitter account and demanded that she/he stop what they were doing. Whoever the impostor was refused to back down until WordPress.com and twitter.com got involved. Thankfully, they were able to shut the impostor’s blog and twitter accounts down. There were news sources from around the world that were sharing this story. We were interviewed by our local news in Atlanta, too. I never figured out who the impostor was. But, I’m still left wondering why would someone want to pretend that they have a child dying from cancer? Who wants that kind of life? Is it really just for attention? Is it a mental illness? Is it both?
Dr. Phil, my hope is that you will consider have a show discussing this topic of “Cancer/Charity Fraud.” This topic needs to be addressed and to prepare caring and thoughtful people to do some research into a charity or fundraiser before they make a monetary donation. Country singer Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly were deceived by a woman claiming that her daughter had cancer and, eventually, died. This fraudulent act could happen to anyone; famous or not. Again, this does not mean that all charities/fundraisers are fake. There are so many more that are genuine and really help those that are facing life threatening illnesses.
Thank you for your consideration of doing a show about “Cancer/Charity Fraud.” Please feel free to contact me anytime.
Please see the link below of my interview with an Atlanta news station regarding our experience with the blog impostor.