As if thousands of children battling cancer and many of them dying isn’t bad enough, there are people out there who are lying about their child having cancer to scam money from childhood cancer charities. Thank you to B+ Foundation Program Director, Katie Wilson, for catching one recently. Please see below for a brief write-up that we have circulated within the childhood cancer community.
If you receive a request for assistance from Shunda McGruder, please do NOT provide assistance. She is a scammer! We, at The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, recently received a request which had some suspicious information and numerous inconsistencies. This woman claims to have a 14 year old son named Ethan who is allegedly battling leukemia. We have confirmed with the various Texas hospitals in question that this child is not a patient of theirs. A McGruder family member even called me, confirmed that Ethan McGruder does not have cancer, and asked me not to help his sister as she has a bad drug problem. I have shared this information with the Dallas Field Office of the FBI.
As a father who watched his 14 year old son die in his 16 year old sister’s arms following a valiant battle with leukemia, it just makes my blood boil to see scammers trying to ‘use’ childhood cancer as a way to get money.
Have they no shame?!
Contrast that story with these two stories of B+ Families who ARE, unfortunately, in the fight.
Brandon was diagnosed with a condition at the age of 4 (2001) and underwent a bone marrow transplant (BMT) in 2010. AS A RESULT of the chemotherapy protocol, Brandon has subsequently been diagnosed with AML (leukemia – same type that Andrew had). Brandon, now 15, underwent a second BMT last year. Unfortunately, this young man has had to battle Graft Vs Host Disease (GVHD), which is not that unusual, resulting from the transplant. This is what I mean when I say that we have to develop smarter, and gentler, treatment protocols for our kids. And, it may also yield benefits for adults. A secondary cancer resulting from chemo is what took my brother-in-law’s life at the age of 46.
The second family that you assisted is Ashleigh and her family. Ashleigh is a 17 year old who was diagnosed in 2006 with ALL (leukemia). Like Brandon, she underwent a BMT. Five and a half years later, in January, 2012, Ashleigh was diagnosed with secondary cancers (sarcomas). She, too, has battled GVHD.
In case you’re wondering, I didn’t have to dig through the files for these two similar, and infuriatingly sad, stories. Both of these families submitted applications within the last two weeks and we provided financial assistance to each of them last Tuesday.
Last Wednesday, I had the honor of meeting some great kids at Miami Children’s Hospital. Along with B+ Race Car drivers, Al Carter & Hugh Plumb, we toured the Oncology Unit signing autographs and giving out free tickets to last Saturday’s race. In spite of the rain on Saturday, two hearty families showed up! Thank you, April and Valentina, for talking your families into joining us at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was so nice to see all the smiles on the kids’ faces at the hospital when the drivers showed up! See below for a picture of Rodrigo and his family.
The B+ Race Team will be coming to Wilmington, DE on Wed. May 9th. In preparation for May 12th’s “B+ Heroes 200 Presented by BCKSTGR” race in Millville, NJ, the drivers and other guests will be arriving at A.I. duPont Hospital at noon on Wed. May 9th. We will have the race car parked outside the main entrance to the hospital and will have a short presentation outside prior to going up to 3CNorth to visit the brave kids battling cancer. We’d love to see a BIG crowd in hospital parking lot at the car if you can stop by.
Finally, while not cancer related, I want to extend my condolences to the sisters of Gamma Phi Beta at the University of Delaware on the tragic loss of one of their sisters. Gamma Phi Beta, and the entire Greek Community at UD, has been so supportive of us in our battle to fight childhood cancer. We keep all of the sisters in our prayers.
Live Like Andrew – be comfortable in your own skin.
Ali & Andrew’s Dad