$40K donation for Magna teen’s cancer treatments turned out to be fake, family says

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A $40,000 donation to help a Magna teenager with cancer treatments turned out to be fake, according to the family.

“This wasn't real. It didn't happen. We're not sure of the motivation,” said Emily Gould.

Gould’s 15-year-old daughter, Alexis, was diagnosed with Stage 3 Neuroblastoma in September.

The Magna community helped organize a fundraiser at Cyprus High School, where Alexis is a sophomore. During the event, it was announced that an anonymous donor had given $40,000 to pay for care at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

But just weeks later, they learned the money never existed.

“It looked as if he said he had just basically prepaid Lexi's account by $40,000,” explained Gould. "It's just not there."

A local businessman in Magna had pledged the donation. The hospital credited the Goulds’ account by $40,000, in order to deduct fees as necessary. However, it quickly became apparent there was no money.

Initially, Gould’s friends who had worked with the donor believed it was going to be paid. But over the course of a couple weeks, they realized the man simply didn’t have the money.

“I would like to believe that at some point this man thought it was going to happen and then maybe it fell through,” said Gould.

While Gould acknowledges the donation was significant, she and her family refuse to dwell on it.

“We've kind of adopted a saying where sadness has its time and when it comes we give it its time, but we never stay there,” Gould said. “We move on. And that's what we've done with this.”

The family is instead focusing on all the other positive things that have happened in the last month, including the event where the donation originated.

"Part of the reason for our emotion was not just a $40,000 donation. It was the entire night,” she said. “It was all of the little things that have been done up to that night and have been done since that really that's what has meant the most to us.”

If you would like to help the Goulds, you can make a donation here: https://www.gofundme.com/rf46474s


  • Nichole

    It sickens me that a family has to spend one second worrying about how to pay for medical treatment when their child is fighting for her life.

    • laytonian

      I think, before people ask for money, they should let the community know what kind of insurance coverage they have.

  • Terry

    I see quite a lot of requests for funding for medical expenses in the local news stories. Not being from the US I am little ignorant of this, how is this not paid for by insurance particularly since Obamacare is in force and everyone should have bought coverage? Is it a gap in Medicaid, is it that the treatment is not deemed mainstream, are insurance companies just wiggly out of responsibility? This is an honest question and not meant to imply any criticism of the family but so I am properly informed for my own use.

    • laytonian

      Even worse, this girl is being treated at a so-called “charity” hospital that is constantly asking for donations.
      As for insurance: that’s a bad word to many Utahns who believe it’s a government takeover.

  • sdsf

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