West Virginia Woman Accused of Faking Brain Cancer Collected $17k Via GoFundMe | GoFraudMe

Alleged GoFundMe Fraud, Fake Cancer

West Virginia Woman Accused of Faking Brain Cancer Collected $17k Via GoFundMe

Amber Buskirk Gofundme

“These days when you speak with Amber, you would never know she is fighting for her life,” reads the October 2015 article on SmileBait.com. “She’s a spunky Southern woman who is every bit a Steel Magnolia if there ever was one.” At the very top of the article, a picture of Amber Buskirk stretched across the lap of her husband Jeremy, sharing an embrace in the sand. Amber’s head is recently shaved, covered in a 5 o’clock shadow not at all unlike that of her husband’s; we are to believe from this that she is a cancer patient struggling to stay alive as an inoperable tumor expands in her brain.

Amber and Jeremy Buskirk

We are to believe she is brave, and, as SmileBait described her, a proud Southern woman. We are to believe that Amber is seeking experimental treatment at Duke University and we are to believe that she is in desperate need of funding as she is no longer able to work due to the cancer that has supposedly ravaged her body since 2013.

As it turns out, the entire thing appears to be a poorly-manufactured lie. And now the West Virginia woman is being called out as a fake.

In an exclusive story, 13 News WOWK in Charleston started asking doctors Amber claimed were treating her for proof of her claims, only to be told Amber wasn’t a patient.

13 News reporter Hillary Hall confronted Amber on these findings (rather, lack thereof) in an interview embedded below.

“I asked them (DUKE) specifically about your treatments and they emailed me back and said that you are not a patient at Duke and you haven’t been,” said Hillary.

Amber paused a moment and then explained: “Yes I am. I am underneath the, umm, I am underneath the trial so therefore I am considered a patient and I am a number. I do not, they do not, they are not allowed to give you my name.”

When reached via video chat, Deputy Director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Dr. Henry Friedman said that absolutely isn’t true.  “It has never happened that a patient has only known by a number. We would have a name. A chart with that persons name on it, the name would be in all of the medical records at Duke which are electronic now. There is no way that a patient could be on a trial at Duke without a name,” he told 13 News.

WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Amber claimed that a PET scan on Halloween of 2014 revealed Stage 4 Glioblastoma. On May 15 of 2015, she created a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $25k to pay medical bills.

Amber Buskirk gofundme

Amber Buskirk update

Amber Buskirk Gofundme update

In October of 2015, former WOWK reporter Jessie Shafer shared a smiling photo of Amber on Facebook, along with a link to Amber’s GoFundMe campaign and an urgent plea [Ed. note: the public Facebook post linked above was found by a Google search, it has since been removed or is otherwise inaccessible]:

Amber BuskirkMy good friend Amber is fighting a brain tumor, and is having success with a clinical trial. But financially, she can’t continue fighting without our help. She needs to raise $1500 by Monday to continue, or she will have to tell her son that this mommy isn’t going to make it. Please donate and share. Please.

This is life and death! THIS MATTERS!!

But fast forward to current day and 13 News says it took a mere 15 minutes of questioning Amber about her claims before her GoFundMe campaign was taken down. We were unable to find a cache; all that remains is a dead URL and remnants of impassioned pleas for help across social media.

Amber Buskirk The Revolution

“Fraudulent campaigns make up less than one tenth of one percent of all campaigns. With that said, there are rare occasions where individuals try to take advantage of others’ generosity and commit fraud. In those cases, we take action to protect donors,” said a GoFundMe spokesperson to 13 News. Although Amber’s campaign was made long before the new GoFundMe refund policy was enacted, the site says “if it’s determined that the campaign is fraudulent, [they] will work with law enforcement officials to ensure the GoFundMe donors are made whole.”

The Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

Special thanks to Hillary Hall  at 13 News for her investigative work and for providing screenshots of the GoFundMe campaign used in this story. This story also appeared on the GoFraudMe podcast ep2: Cancer fakers are GoFundMe’s tumor.

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6 Comments

  1. Chris justice

    Why is Mrs Buskirk not in jail?

  2. Kristen Carver

    Many people knew for years she faked sicknesses like cancer and the police was told at the Kanawha county sheriff’s and state police. They said there was nothing they could do. Even people like her had freeedom of speech online like this. So it’s okay in the laws eyes that people like her keep scamming. People told the news of it. They didn’t believe anyone. People knows she’s got a reputation for lying. She’s like your dealing with a child. She never grew up. The places that helped raise money was even warned . Some people ccontinued on believing. Others just didn’t care. Now they care. Back in 2007 she was telling people she had cancer online. She’s a pathlogicial liar and she’s very unstable. In school she always lied to get attention. She never grew out of it. People need to make calls and have her jailed.

  3. Kathline Moore

    Even a good 30 days in jail and 1,000 hours of community service and a ten thousand dollar fine will teach her about conning people. I can’t believe she’s not in trouble at all and facing conquences for her actions.

  4. Sandy Swenson

    I contributed to this more than once. I had stopped hearing from her and feared the worst. But certainly not this

  5. Kerry

    As a patient with brain cancer (currently treating recurrence) I cannot believe she did this. I read on line that she was a member of several of the brain cancer sites, trolling for language, etc. Someone set up a fund for me to help with housing needed for treatment for two months in Houston. I should have had Amber run the campaign. I am grateful for the $1600.00 raised, but HOW did a FAKE brain cancer diagnosis raise close to $20k!? I hope she feels some shame for this. Shame on her. I hope she never really has to go through this struggle….

  6. Sandy

    I funded her when I could… a friend of mine’s nephew is currently being treated for a reoccurance as well . My prayers are with you and I, too, struggle that she used affliction to her advantage .

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