On a conference call this morning, a friend, from Burlington, Ontario, told me about a case that recently broke there, of a girl who defrauded many people, by claiming to be dying from four or five different types of cancer. My first emotion was anger, because this is one of the lowest forms of trickery I can imagine. Playing upon people’s emotions, garnering pity where none is due… I think there’s a special corner of Hell reserved for people like that. Preferably between the sexual predators and the drug dealers.
Enter, emotion #2 – fear. It dawned on me that news like this could have an immediate negative effect on the fund-raising efforts on Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight’s behalf. Rachel’s case, unlike the Burlington case, is real, and documented. And Rachel doesn’t ask for anyone’s pity… she radiates strength. But people that read about a fraud such as occurred in Burlington will now be more wary, more skeptical. They’ll be less likely to trust that a donation will go toward what is promised, and understandably so. If they’re one of the unfortunates that were duped by the Burlington case (check out the Burlington case’s fraudulent Facebook page), they’ve been burned once, at a very personal level, and will be unlikely to make themselves vulnerable again.
So, future donations will probably be at a lower level, because of that case. That means that fewer real victims will receive the help they need. It’s not inconceivable that some of the money that went to Burlington, might have saved a live, had it gone elsewhere. It’s not a major reach, to think that some future victim will NOT be saved, because a key donation won’t be made. The implications go on and on.
So I asked my friend to send me info on the case, thinking that I might be able to lessen any possible impact on Rachel’s fund-drive, by discussing it here. He did, and I read what the papers had to say.
Then my third emotion kicked in… disgust. This sick individual in Burlington claims to have been “caught up” in the whole thing. I call, “Bullshit!” The cold, calculating, and very detailed presentation of her so-called “condition”, prove that it was the contributors that were caught up!
For any of you that lean toward the skeptical side, I can only say that you’re probably wise. The fact that such a scam can occur, and rope in so many people who just wanted to help someone, indicates that skepticism is advisable.
For those of you that blindly cast donations in all directions, I only hope that you’ll be fortunate, and never encounter such a ruse as described in the below articles.
For those of you that may find yourself wavering… I can offer you very little. In terms of the reality of Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight’s situation, it is true. I can say that because I know. I know the people involved. I know their next-door neighbors. And I’m usually as skeptical as they come, believe me. I know my word may not mean much to most of you. I hope it does, for Rachel’s sake. And I know that there are others involved in Rachel’s support circle that are known to have integrity, so their word should carry some weight, too.
When it comes right down to it, each of us has to be smart enough to consider all possibilities, and then decide where our heart and mind should lead us. I would caution you all, not to be blind, but also, not to be blindly cynical. There’s a balance to be found, and straying too far in either direction will either make YOU a victim, or will deprive a real victim of the needed assistance.
Here’s some news coverage of the Burlington case. I urge you to read it.