Still struggling to raise funds for a life-saving procedure in India, cancer patient Zelia Castello now has to deal with unscrupulous people using her plight to steal money from kind-hearted individuals.
Castello told Guardian Media that a report has been made to the police and they have posted a warning on Facebook advising members of the public to be wary of these people.
In an interview yesterday, she said, “Last night, a lady called me from Point Fortin and she said that weekend some young boys was in the area. They didn’t have donation sheets because I have donation sheets approved from the commissioner, but they had envelopes saying they from the Point Fortin Police Youth Club and they receiving funds on my behalf to assist with the situation. Some persons gave them and some people didn’t.”
Castello, a woman police constable, said she spoke to the president of the Police Youth Club, who informed her that another woman also made a report at the Point Fortin Police Station about the young men.
She said the police are investigating and a resident has offered to share her CCTV footage to assist them in identifying and arresting the suspects.
“That is crazy because in a situation like this, people actually using that as an opportunity for them to do their own (thing),” Castello said.
She made it clear that the PYC is not doing any fundraising events on her behalf at this time.
“I’ve been telling persons once it’s not posted on the page, we are not aware of it. I don’t want nobody participating in nothing as long as I didn’t give the approval for it, because without my approval it not supposed to be done,” Castello said.
The warning on Facebook advised, “All fundraisers organised by on approved by the Help Zelia Fight Against Hodgkins Lymphoma team, are published on the official Facebook page that is named “Help Zelia Fight Against Hodgkins Lymphoma” as confirmation of legitimacy.”
Diagnosed last January, Castello, a municipal police officer, has been struggling to raise funds for a bone marrow transplant in India and has been forced to push back her trip.
The procedure costs US$200,000 but the hospital has agreed to a US$15,000 down payment to start her treatment.
While she is not close to this, Castello is still optimistic about going to India at the end of the month.
“It (donations) slowed down plenty from last week to now but it have one or two people still calling,” she said.
Castello can be contacted at 329-1688 or donate to Zelia Christiana Castello First Citizens Bank account number 2283611. To contribute, go to the website https://gofund.me/40f4d87e.