Where's the money for Tianna?
A young mother is crying foul after she was left holding hospital bills totalling US$80,000 (J$10 million) relating to her late cancer-stricken daughter, Tianna Ken, who was treated by three US medical facilities.
The mother, Lacie-Ann Gray, told The Gleaner that while doctors at two local hospitals, Cornwall Regional and Bustamante Hospital for Children, had already told her there was no hope for the three-year-old, she was convinced by Shena Carty, founder of Jamaican Madhouse, a Facebook 'Humanitarian' Group, to get a third opinion in the United States.
Carty, who had started a GoFundMe campaign titled 'Life for Princess Tianna' on July 9, 2016, stated a goal of raising US$100,000, claiming the money would be used to assist with medical bills. However, Gray said she received less than 10 per cent of the monies collected through the fundraising platform on behalf of her child.
"Even before I arrived in the US on August 31 to seek further medical help for Tianna, Shena had withdrawn US$4,653.71 on August 22. None of that money was used to assist us with buying airline tickets, because Prime Minister Andrew Holness sponsored the trip," said Gray.
According to GoFundMe records obtained by The Gleaner, Carty raised a total of US$10,105.00. After processing fees, the amount released to her via 34 bank transfers, between August 22 and October 12, 2016, was US$9,260.43.
"When I arrived in America and went to the hospitals, the doctors said there was nothing they could do for Tianna, because the cancer was too far gone and before we had a chance to come back to Jamaica, my daughter died. The only thing that Shena paid for was the funeral home, costing US$1,770," claims Gray.
She said Carty told her she had paid some of the bills but the hospitals have no record of this. "And she does not take my calls nor reach out to me personally," states Gray, who has returned to the United States to file a formal report with the police.
Correspondence from the GoFundMe legal department recommended that Gray file the report, "as withholding donations is considered a crime". Gray filed two reports, one at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and the other in Connecticut in the US last month.
Even after baby Tianna died, Carty reportedly started another GoFundMe in her name, said Gray.
Carty's personal website, shenacarty.com, lists several fundraising ventures on behalf of cancer patients over the years, as well as feeding programmes and marches staged on days such as International Women's Day.
Currently, she has a planned a march for next Thursday, under her 'Shena Carty Foundation of Love', which is not registered in the US, yet carries a letterhead and telephone number representing that country.
Checks made with the New York State Department of State show no record of a corporation with that name. However, a letter being circulated to Jamaican companies on behalf of Carty shows her requesting financial support for the march.
Contacted on her New York telephone number last week, The Gleaner tried to get Carty's side of the story, but her response was, "If you are doing an article for The Gleaner, you must speak with my attorney."
This was a week after The Gleaner first attempted to get a response and was told by Carty's local attorney, Dalton Reid, that he was reviewing documents submitted by her.
Calls to Reid's telephone number have since gone unanswered and further attempts to get a response from Carty since Friday have proved unsuccessful.