A Cincinnati couple claim to have received a homophobic message after a relative created an online fundraiser for their daughter’s cancer treatments.
Tiffany and Albree Shaffer were told earlier this year that their 18 month-old daughter Callie was suffering with advanced neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in young nerve cells. Shockingly, the couple were told that Callie was in stage four, the most advanced stage, so would require at least 18 months of chemotherapy and radiation to get better.
Shaffer told ABC News:
It’s been very rough on Callie. We’re taking it day by day.
Shortly after receiving the news, a family member created an online fundraiser to help raise money for the child’s medical bills.
The GoFundMe page reads:
She will need 18 months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she will need a bone marrow transplant, and also will need future surgery to remove the tumor once it shrinks.
What I am asking is for you to help me take the financial burden off of these wonderful people.
While the women received support from family, friends and strangers, not everyone has been so supportive.
The couple said a woman who goes by the name Bren Marie sent them a homophobic Facebook message after seeing their fundraising page. It read:
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.
Bren Marie, who appears to have changed her name on the site or deleted her Facebook account since the incident, then said:
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.
Albree Shaffer said she and Tiffany Shaffer were “shocked and disgusted” by the comment but did not respond to the offensive message.
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.
Though, thankfully, this incident has encouraged others to donate. Linda and Carol Davis-Wolther wrote on the GoFundMe page:
My wife and I are donating a bit to chip away at replacing that undelivered donation.
We two lesbians have had several children, and know the discrimination that still exists. We will also pray for Callie and her moms.
Another donor, Duane Smith, said:
I donated because I am a Christian and I believe God loves all of us.”
The fundraising page created on the Shaffers' behalf had raised almost $80,000 at the time of publication.