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Weber County couple says woman is making money on their son’s illness through fake fundraiser

Posted at 7:44 PM, Jul 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-23 00:09:58-04

NORTH OGDEN, Utah -- A Weber County family says a woman is using the story of their son's illness to raise money, but the fundraising effort is a a scam.

Friday, Amanda Stewart received a voicemail from a family friend.

“She says, ‘you need to contact police, something is going on and someone is banking off of your son’s trials,’” Amanda said when describing the message.

Amanda was alerted to a flier with older images of her son Teagan, advertising a raffle and fundraising campaign. Since posting about the flier on social media, several family friends in the Harrisville and North Ogden areas have told her, they have encountered a woman taking the flier to stores, asking for cash donations for Teagan.

“Luckily, so many people knew us and stopped them in their tracks,” Amanda said.

Amanda tells FOX13, there is no raffle or fundraising effort for Teagan’s medical bills.

“We did some fundraising a few years ago, but now we don’t need the fundraising,” she said.

Teagan, who is 8-years-old, was born with a rare heart condition that has required him to endure three open heart surgeries.

“Teagan was born with half a heart. He was born with two chambers instead of four,” Amanda said.

Eventually, Teagan will need a heart transplant. That procedure is about five to ten years away. For now, he is on medication and living life like any other 8-year-old. This incident has shaken up his family.

“We’ve been living a couple of years of living just smooth and not having any issues, and this comes up and it just brings everything back,” Amanda said.

The Stewarts are shocked someone would take advantage of peoples’ kindness.

"Its crazy, I just feel bad, our son has gone through so much and somebody is making profit off his story," Amanda said. "It's an inspiring story, he`s our little miracle and we wouldn't change it, but for somebody else to make money off it, it's just, heartbreaking."

She hopes this doesn’t deter others from giving to those in need.

“Make sure it’s legit. If you think it’s concerning, like the information is incorrect, check it,” Amanda said.

The Stewarts anticipate, they’ll need help from friends and the community when Teagan eventually undergoes a heart transplant. Until then, they are struggling to come to terms with how someone could use a little boy's story as the basis for a scam.

“It makes you wonder, how somebody could try to profit from my son’s pain,” Amanda said.

Harrisville Police are investigating and hope surveillance video from the stores will help them identify the woman responsible for the flier.

Sunday afternoon, Amanda said friends told her they saw someone using Teagan’s story and asking for donations at City Creek Center in Salt Lake City.