Identity Thief

Yesterday, Ben was chosen as “Brave Patient of the Day” by a FaceBook page called “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” an organization who brings healing through the arts. They put his picture up on their site for the day and we got some new followers/prayer warriors/friends. But the best thing to come out of it was a sweet girl named Kristyn who reported some shocking news. She said that she saw my son’s picture and noticed that he had a different name. She clicked on his info and learned that this kid that she’s been following for five years – YES, FIVE YEARS – was NOT a little boy named Matty Bear, but a boy named Ben.

Apparently, some pervert who has been following Ben over the last several years has taken it upon themselves to steal his illness. They created this character called “Matty Bear” who has stage IV “Pediatric Cancer”, loves Mario Brothers and video games and has a favorite nurse named Lauren at Denver Children’s Hospital… they’ve been watching us. They’ve even gone so far as to steal posts from my blog and try to make them their own. One of their posts talked about having thyroid cancer and blaming themselves for giving “Matty Bear” cancer… a direct rip-off of one of my posts. They’ve been doing this for years.

Interestingly enough, there are no pictures of Matty Bear on his website or on the two YouTube videos they have posted. They had up to 800 twitter followers, though. The only way I knew what was happening is when this sweet Kristyn forwarded a picture of Ben from 2009 – oh, I mean, Matty Bear – sitting in an infusion chair that I believe my ex-husband had posted on his site at one time or another several years ago.

What would make a person do this? There have been several cases of families shaving their children’s heads and telling people they have cancer just to get the donations. They’ve gone to jail for their disgusting practices. I can only hope that Matty Bear doesn’t exist – that they made up this kid entirely. I wonder if it was for attention? Perhaps. But I bet it was about the money. All I can say is I hope they made enough to cover the shit-storm that’s coming their way. I might not be able to catch you, but the proper authorities have been notified. If you’re not caught for this crime, “Jen,” you better be ready for Karma. Because it will most definitely bite you in your sorry ass.

Let’s not focus on this sorry idiot any longer. Here’s what I’m hoping today’s post will do: RAISE AWARENESS! Don’t just click “LIKE” on every cancer kid’s page you see. Some of them are not legitimate. Some might sing a good song and lure you in, but do a little due diligence. A true cancer mom will not be offended to answer a couple of questions about their kiddo’s treatment. I put my story out there for a reason. This journey has been grueling. It has changed our lives. I’m going to continue writing about it with the depth of emotion that I’ve always used. I do feel violated and angry that someone would be heinous enough to do the unthinkable, but apparently it happens more often than not. In talking with another cancer mom, she said it happened to her, too. But this pervert actually went so far as to create a character who died using images of my friend’s daughter and raised enough money to put their made-up character to rest. SICK. She then told me that it’s happened at one point or another to many of our friends.

I can’t stop other people’s disgustingness. But I’m not going to let them deter me from living MY LIFE. Yes. This is my life. This is my son’s battle. And while I would willingly let this pig have my son’s cancer to enjoy for themselves, it just doesn’t work that way. Cancer is not transferrable. But I’m betting that it will eventually catch up to them. In some way or another.

17 thoughts on “Identity Thief”

  1. Count me in on the list of people this happened to. I have no idea how long it went on for us. A creep in Australia had Avalon’s picture and all of her statistics and was going door to door soliciting donations. Would you believe she happened to knock on the door of someone I know from an international A.L.L. listserve?? WTH are the odds of that?!

    Anyway, the other mom suspected something, and said when she saw the picture, something didn’t sit right. When the crook left, the other mom called the authorities and warned her neighbors. She said it took her a few minutes, then she realized she’d seen the pics before and went hunting through Avalon’s old website. Sure enough – there was the ‘Aussie’ child who was having such a rough time!

    People suck. I’m glad your thief is in the states so you might have a chance at justice! May he/she/it rot in hell.

  2. Sarah, this is so awful. It makes me want to relinquish my citizenship in the internet.
    For what it’s worth, have you seen the movie Catfish? It’s a documentary about a woman who created a bizarre child-story-based alternate identity online, and a couple of guys who tracked her down. It gives a little insight. Not enough though.

  3. Impressively ladylike in your sharing…I am sure your initial reaction was much more explosive – as it should be! I am new to Ben’s site (but not the pediatric oncology world) – but in the few most recent posts it is obvious YOU are a mom NOT to be messed with.

    Two names immediately come to mind regarding similar situations…one even had to do with Social Security Tax rebate theft. That dad, is a lawyer and has taken his skills, anger, expertise to Washington. The other recently posted the mug shot of her “cancer wanna be mom”…insert vomit and other vile adjectives if you will. Feel free to contact me for their contact info. if you want to piggyback on their success with “outing” thief. I am sure both families would be interested and a valuable source of reference for you.

    With all due respect for EVERYTHING positive YOU stand for – I am in awe of your advocacy and love for your children – but walking in your cancer mom shoes…not so much! Amazing how long this went on…hopefully Karma bits back a few times!!!

  4. Really?? You have to have a really bad sickness of your own to “adopt” something like this into your life willingly!! I am so sorry this has happened to you on top of all the other crap that seems to be following you. I am glad you took the time to report this and I hope they catch these sick low-lifes!

  5. Hi there, could you please contact me? I write a blog that finds the identities of people writing fake cancer blogs online. We’ve been looking at “Matty Bear” for a while and I was hoping we could put our heads together and share the info we’ve found. -Taryn

  6. Im in total shock !! Im more then just disgusted and angry !! As a mother of a child also going through cancer treatment, you dont wish this on any other child and parent ! This horrible horrible illness ! But to make this up to make up a scam like this ?? WOW !! I wish there would be something we could do to catch those people, but im sure it will be close to impossible ! If there is a way to Identify those creeps, please let me know !!
    Gabriele

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