Back in August of 2015, animal-loving site The Dodo profiled a woman named Shivonie Deokaran, a mother of two tragically given 18 months to live due to cancer:
While this news is unimaginable on its own, Shivonie found out around the same time that she and her family are going to lose their home due to financial crisis caused by the cost of all her treatments. This means that Shivonie will also likely lose her dog Gia, the one person who has been her comfort through all of this hardship.
Gia and Shivonie were brought together when Gia arrived at Second Chance Rescue NYC after someone was trying to give her away for free on Facebook. Gia was just a puppy and yet already seemed affected by the trials of her short life.
“She was very scared and unsure of so much,” Judy Iannone Vicenzo of Second Chance Rescue told The Dodo. “Being very hopeful, as time heals most wounds, Gia would eventually overcome being fearful, unsure and nervous.” Gia went through many foster families and just couldn’t seem to settle in — until she met Shivonie.
Shivonie and Gia formed a bond unlike any other. When Gia came to Shivonie she was battling her third bout of cancer and didn’t have very much joy in her life. Gia changed that.
“Gia is my sunshine. She came into my life for reason,” Shivonie said of her best friend. “She doesn’t leave my side when I come back from chemotherapy and radiation. She only sleeps in my bed on these days.”
Aww, how touching! Here she is, looking nice and freshly shaven, with Gia:
Doesn’t it just warm your heart?
Second Chance Rescue was so moved by Shivonie’s story and the connection she seemed to have with the dog immediately upon meeting that they waived Gia’s adoption fee.
“One of the biggest things that hurts me so much about this situation is that this woman should be thinking about how she wants to spend her last remaining months on this earth, what she wants to see, who she wants to spend her time with, what she wants to experience and how she wants to love her family,” Kelcy Kimmerer of Second Chance Rescue told The Dodo. “Instead she has to worry about not having a place to live and not knowing how they are going to live.”
As terrible as that story is, it gets worse. Not worse as in she lost her dog or her house or her kids, but worse as in she is now accused of faking cancer and scamming concerned friends and neighbors out of $60,000.
Outraged former pals of single mom Shivonie Deokaran say that the Ardsley woman posted photos to a Go Fund me site on which claimed she had leukemia and just 18 months to live.
The fundraising site to cover the woman’s ‘mounting medical bills’ has since been taken down.
Donations poured in from concerned neighbors and even the Town Supervisor Paul Feiner stepped into to help, according to CW39.
Ardsley, NY police told Inside Edition a probe into Shivonie’s claims began a few months ago after a few folks questioned the validity of her story. When police asked her for medical records, she closed down her Indian restaurant (which, BTW, she attempted to fund with a failed Kickstarter campaign back in 2015) and skipped town to Florida with her man, two kids, and dog. Her boyfriend claims that she moved to Florida to seek alternative health treatments, definitely not because she got caught faking cancer or anything like that. The small community of Ardsley remains shocked and unsettled by the entire thing.
You’ll note that neither GoFundMe page was started by the woman herself. Reporters have yet to reach her for comment.