A couple claim a woman withdrew her donation to their cancer stricken daughter because they are lesbians.
Tiffany, 36, and Albree Shaffer, 26, from Cincinnati were told earlier this year their 18-month-old child Callie was suffering with advanced neuroblastoma.
Doctors informed the family Callie was in the most advanced stage of the cancer, which develops in young nerve cells, as it had reached her lymph nodes and bones.
The Shaffers were told Callie would require 18 months of both chemotherapy and radiation at least, in addition to a bone marrow transplant and further surgery.
Passing this news on to their family, a relative set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Callie’s medical bills, as well as to ‘supplement the loss in income, everyday bills and living expenses, gas, food and essentials while Albree is living in the hospital room’.
The page explained that Albree has had to stop working to care for Callie, while Tiffany works as much as possible and looks after their other child.
Donations started flooding in from friends, family and strangers, but not everyone was supportive.
On the day Callie was due to have the tumour removed, the couple claim they were shocked to receive a message from a person known as ‘Bren Marie’ on Facebook.
After seeing their fundraising page, the homophobic woman sent Tiffany the following:
My prayers for Callie. I was going to donate $7600.00 to her but I found out her parents are lesbian. I’ve chosen to donate to St. Jude due to that fact.
Sorry, I’ll still pray for her though but maybe it’s God’s way of getting your attention that she needs a mommy and a daddy, not 2 mommy’s.
‘Bren Marie’ has either changed her name on Facebook, or deleted her account since sending the message.
Speaking to NBC, the couple said they were ‘shocked and disgusted’ by the message.
Explaining they chose not to reply, Albree added:
We tried not to be upset, but it was hard. I couldn’t believe she reached out to us to tell us that directly. She could have just not donated and ignored the page.
This incident has encouraged others to show their support, and at time of writing (May 4) over $86,225 has been raised.
If you would like to donate to the cause, you can do so here.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday – Friday, 9am – 8pm).
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.