Donna Jantzen finds joy in making blankets for kids with cancer. Her caring hands have put together dozens of blankets. Last month, she made a blanket for Warrior Eli. Jantzen found the five-year-old's story on Facebook and checked it out on Caring Bridge-- a website that allows users to share health updates with others.
"I had taken the email address from the Caring Bridge website and emailed that address, supposedly the father. And, was put in contact with the aunt, who gave this story that they live in Canada, send the blanket to her, so I did that,” Jantzen said.
Then, Mother's Day weekend, she saw a Facebook update about Warrior Eli's mom.
“She was hit head-on by a car driving too fast that crossed the center line,” Jantzen said.
The tragedy was just the beginning of shocking news for Jantzen. She later learned... Warrior Eli's sad story may be a hoax.
"It was heartbreaking,” Jantzen said.
But why? FactFinder12 checked around. Warrior Eli's Facebook page no longer exists. And, his Caring Bridge account is set to full privacy now. A spokeswoman says like all other Caring Bridge sites, his website did not accept donations.
The person behind Warrior Eli also had a website with Alex's Lemonade Stand-- a national non-profit that raises money for child cancer research. The organization blocked his site from the public and is now investigating Warrior Eli's story. It says the money donated on this website does not go directly to the families of cancer patients.
"While you can certainly make a donation honoring a certain child who may be battling cancer, the funds that are donated do come to the foundation directly,” an Alex’s Lemonade Stand spokeswoman said.
This leaves Jantzen wondering why such an elaborate hoax... If that's what it is? But she's not stopping her contribution to fighting childhood cancer.
"There are so many other children I've been in contact with that need 20 dollars in cash, or that there is a fundraiser for, or there's a jar sitting somewhere, and they're not a big organization. And I don't want people to think, well, that was a fraud, I'm not giving any money,” Jantzen said.
Alex's Lemonade Stand is offering to refund the donations people made in Warrior Eli's name. Again, the money goes toward cancer research, not to families directly. Jantzen made a 20-dollar donation in Warrior Eli's name--she's choosing to allow the charity to keep it.
Jantzen works directly with the Kyrie Foundation, here in Wichita. To learn more about its mission, click here.