GoFundMe ‘Cancer’ scammer Madison ‘Maddie’ Russo, 19, showed red flags in her ailing TikToks, doctor reveals
A TWISTED TikToker whose fake cancer diagnosis raised nearly $40,000 via a GoFundMe page was displaying a series of alarming red flags, a specialist told The US Sun.
Madison Russo, 19, faces a possible 10-year jail term after she was arrested Jan. 23 and charged with first-degree theft.
Police reports say that Russo, who lives in Bettendorf, Iowa, pretended to have “stage 2 pancreatic cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and a tumor the size of a football that has wrapped around her spine” after her alleged documented fights on social media.
She got over 439 people to donate a whopping $37,303 to support her fake fight by brazenly posting pictures of her being “treated” and providing updates.
But when medics started taking notice of the story earlier this month, alarm bells started ringing and authorities were called in to investigate the sickening claims.
dr Mona Jhaveri, a cancer researcher and founder of the Music Beats Cancer charity, told The US Sun that the inaccuracies are obvious.
“She seemed quite healthy for that type of diagnosis,” said Dr. Jhaveri told The US Sun.
“Survival rates are very low and you are very ill. And it’s very fast.
“It’s interesting that she could look so healthy and it was alarming to hear someone so young say she was diagnosed.”
Russo claimed she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on February 10 before being hit with the hammer blow of leukemia just months later.
“And then she said something about being diagnosed with leukemia, which is also weird because pancreatic cancer or other cancers or solid cancers don’t usually turn into blood cancers,” Jhaveri said.
Russo, who lectured at her university about her alleged diagnosis and used photos of real patients, also spoke to a cancer podcast called Project Purple.
Court documents said viewers began seeing “terrifying life-threatening inaccuracies in the placement of their medical equipment on their bodies.”
At the beginning of her ruse, Russo claimed a tumor had been found on her spine.
Jhavari added, “The story just doesn’t add up.
“If it was a pancreas, it would be in the pancreas. Okay, if the cancer has metastasized and gone to the bone, it’s different.
“But I don’t know that you would end up with a tumor at the bottom of your spine.”
TikTok users also began to question her use of medical equipment, and when law enforcement officers searched her home, they found a bag full of medical supplies, including an IV stand, nausea pills and a wig.
“I remember hanging up the phone and I was a mess,” she told a local news outlet in Iowa last year.
“I literally yelled, but somehow I found the courage to wipe my tears away and went back to class, which, now that I think about it, was pretty crazy.”
“Life was crazy,” she added.
“It’s like a catch-22. I can’t win if I lose. I feel like my soul has been shaken and at the moment everything is kind of uncertain.
“I just want to know my game plan and right now I don’t know what that is.”
The GoFundMe page was taken down this week but had included calls for help talking about how the treatments were making her “very ill”.
“As with any cancer diagnosis, the cost of medical bills, gas, meals and expenses can be a burden and this family shouldn’t have to worry about that,” reads the GoFundMe page.
“If you are able, donations would be greatly appreciated to help cover medical costs and allow Maddie to focus on one thing only, and showing that she is stronger than cancer and will beat it.”
Her pleas for help outraged Dr. Jhavari, who concluded: “It’s completely outrageous and amazing what people are going to do.
“On the other hand, I’m sorry to say that she’s probably not the only one trying to do this.
“There are many people struggling and suffering, but it doesn’t surprise me that people take advantage of the public.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7273666/sick-cancer-scammer-displayed-red-flags/ GoFundMe ‘Cancer’ scammer Madison ‘Maddie’ Russo, 19, showed red flags in her ailing TikToks, doctor reveals