Woman uses photo of someone else’s dead child to make money

Stephanie Prescott, from the city of Wigan near Manchester, England, had three children with her husband Wayne. Their beautiful boys Tyler, Kody, and the late Braiden. When he was just two, Braiden was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that forms in certain kinds of nerve tissue and mostly affects children.

From the diagnosis onward it was a constant fight, for the boy and for the whole family with him. Thanks to chemo, a stem cell transplant, radiotherapy, and even immunotherapy, Braiden was able to get rid of a tumor twice. 

But when it came back the third time, he was too weak. Stephanie wouldn’t have wished their family’s daily routine on anyone. It was a very difficult time.

Around this time the struggling mother decided she couldn’t stand seeing her son in such pain so she created a Gofundme page to raise money for better treatment. She also started a Facebook page to share with the world what her son was suffering, feeling that it would generate support and help him be less alone on his journey.

The pictures are sometimes shocking and always sad: sure enough, Braiden died in September of 2016.

Stephanie was broken after Braiden’s death. She dedicated these words to him:

“For 5 years you fought this disease with dignity and a smile on your face... you never once complained, even when you lost your legs to this horrible thing… you just said oh well, but I knew deep inside it hurt you, you tried to hide a lot of the pain from me but I'm your mummy, I knew you best and knew you was trying to protect us.”

Some months have gone by and the family has begun to get used to the world without their little Braiden but it’s not a wound you ever really heal from. They never imagined, however, that someone would use their Braiden as a prop in an ugly money-making scheme, and practically in front of their noses. 

A stranger to the family called Megan Steffan began pretending to be Braiden’s mother, using pictures of him from Stephanie’s Internet pages to solicit money and gifts. She’d even posted a photo on WhatsApp adding the comment, “There’s nothing worse than watching your baby fight for his life.”

When the Prescotts learned what she was doing, they were stunned. Stephanie immediately sent her a message. The woman admitted to the con and said she hadn’t known the real story behind it:

“I wish I’d looked into it because this never would have happened,” she confessed. “I hit rock bottom the other day, my husband just lost his job and with Christmas right around the corner we had no way to make rent or pay bills and I guess I just wanted sympathy.”

Stephanie wasn’t impressed. “There is just no excuse for what she’s done. If only she knew what it was like to go through cancer.”

Megan Steffan then declared that she was not the author of the messages in question. She began claiming that her account had been hacked. Braiden’s family didn’t believe her and has considered pressing charges.

It’s a terrible thing to do to the memory of a child, and to his surviving family who are still mourning this devastating loss. But it’s good that the stranger was caught and stopped from exploiting the Prescott family’s tragedy. They certainly deserve nothing but respectful treatment, peace, and recovery.

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