Scammers target family plagued by medical mystery - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Scammers target family plagued by medical mystery

Kennedy Odom (Source: Family) Kennedy Odom (Source: Family)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

It has now been nearly three months since Kennedy Odom, 15, was forced out of school with a mysterious medical diagnosis.

Kennedy remained diligent. She finished her assignments at home and maintained good grades and a positive attitude. She was even accepted into the Memphis Ambassadors Program.

"Kennedy is my only child and just watching her suffer, you can't do anything to help your child and the people who are knowledgeable don't know how to help you," Kennedy's mother, Cicely Odom-Rose, said.

Kennedy spent nearly a year plagued with lesions and blisters around and inside her mouth. Turns out, Kennedy is allergic to the nickel in her braces.

In May, she finally had her braces removed. However, the process to fix the problems in her mouth remains far from complete.

"This is the first of about three surgeries that are planned, but she has been a real trooper during all of this," Kennedy's godmother, Tamera Irving, said.

Irving said since sharing Kennedy's story, the community response has been encouraging.

"I've had people stop me when I'm by myself 'How is your goddaughter doing?' 'Is she okay?' 'We're so glad that you guys shared your story.' 'I know someone going through something similar.'"

Unfortunately, the public's overwhelming support also brought out predators.

The family received several inquiries from viewers wanting to donate to a fundraising account after hearing about Kennedy's story. The problem: that account was not linked to Kennedy's family at all.

"We were notified that someone had tried to create an account, so we released a statement from the family that there has not been a GoFundMe account," Irving said.

The phony fundraiser has since been removed from GoFundMe.com

Kennedy's family is not the first to fall victim to GoFundMe fraud. In a statement, the company said in part:

"While GoFundMe and its payment partners do provide a number of safeguards to deter fraud we must insist that visitors follow the advice stated on each and every campaign..."only donate to people you personally know and trust."

"I suppose it comes with the territory," Irving said. "This is all very new to us and to her family."

Kennedy's recent oral surgery revealed more infections. Doctors said they are working to promote healing in her gums.

In spite of everything they have been through, the family hopes sharing her story will keep another family from traveling down this painful path.

"When you get a 'No,' don't stop at the first no." Irving said. "Keep going and be diligent about your child's health, whatever it may be."

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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