Two Fridays ago, generous middle school students who believed teacher’s aide Kevin MaBone was suffering from cancer presented him with over $11,000 raised via a GoFundMe campaign started by a student. The effort took just two weeks to break five digits.
“He works to build a positive relationship with our students on campus, and they often seek him out for guidance. He freely gives of his time without expecting anything in return, including helping to coach the boys playing basketball, even though he does not get paid to do so. He is always the first to jump into help, whenever it is needed,” reads the GoFundMe campaign which is tragic in its innocence in hindsight. “Mr. MaBone is an amazing role model for the students of Wilkinson and he has done so much for them.”
After the Friday ceremony, the Dallas Morning News reported:
Principal Leslie Feinglas drove a 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis between the lines of students, stopped near where MaBone was standing, and gave him the keys.
He was diagnosed with cancer in December, district officials said, and on an aide’s salary of about $1,500 a month, was relying on staff to get to work and medical appointments after his car broke down.
“The emotions and support and love I feel right now for the staff is overwhelming,” said MaBone, 56. “I have an operation on Monday but none of that is important now. Right now is not even about me. It’s about them.”
Mr. MaBone told the Mesquite school district that he needed a few days off the following Monday to undergo surgery related to his cancer diagnosis. In fact, he was appearing that day in a West Virginia courtroom to be sentenced for misuse of government-issued credit cards going ask far back as 2007. He pleaded guilty last October.
“He had us all duped,” said Laura Jobe, communications director for the Mesquite school district. The $11,356 raised for MaBone’s phony cancer will be refunded to donors, according to the district.
In lying to children in order to cover up his court troubles, MaBone taught these children that people can sometimes be complete assholes. Hopefully his scam doesn’t turn them off from doing good deeds for the rest of their lives.
He faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 in his West Virginia case. Mesquite police are investigating him, however it is unlikely he will face charges related to the GoFundMe campaign. Certainly the campaign organizer will not and should not face any charges for it, as it was created in good faith to help someone they believed was kind-hearted, selfless, and in need.
He will be back in court for sentencing in his original case February 13.