This is just despicable...

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Iowa Teen Accused of Faking Cancer In Elaborate Scam

We shared with you the story of a young teen who is facing serious charges. Her name is Maddison Russo and she is a 19-year-old student turned social media influencer. Russo attends St. Ambrose University and for almost a YEAR she has been claiming that she has several severe forms of cancer.

In an interview with the North Scott Press in October of this year Russo said,

“Of course, every day can’t be sunshine and rainbows, but you can’t just choose to be mad at the cancer. It just happens to people. If you stay depressed, and in a dark space, I feel like your body will never get better.”

According to the police department, she claimed that "she suffered from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Stage 2 Pancreatic Cancer and a tumor, the size of a football, that wrapped around her spine."

There was a GoFundMe put together to help her cover the costs of some of her medical bills. A whole lot of kind people and organizations donated to this fund and she ended up making about $37,800.

Officials are saying that she NEVER had cancer.


Authorities found some serious evidence when searching her home in Bettendorf which included a brown paper bag with medical supplies, an IV pole with a cotton ball filled pump, wigs and a prescription for nausea medication made out to her relative.

Read more about the initial incident here.


Let's be clear about this, this is an ongoing investigation. The Elkridge authorities are still looking into the case and investigating this scam. We will continue to keep you updated as the story continues.

Open Letter To The Iowa Teen Who Faked Her Cancer

Just like everyone else who heard this story I'm shocked that someone can do this. How can you try to scam some very kind people into giving you thousands of dollars?

Who in their right mind would do that?

Then I realized that my feelings about this incident are a bit more complicated than straight up shock.

My mom is battling breast cancer; she had a lumpectomy and went through some painful radiation treatments at the end of last year. She's still dealing with the side effects of this months after the fact.

She will probably have to be on hormone treatments for the rest of her life.

My mom would tell me that she would never wish the pain she went through on her worst enemies. I have to be honest...I would never wish the pain of just WATCHING a loved one deal with cancer on anyone either.


This disease doesn't just have the potential to slowly kill someone's body, but it can also destroy their spirit...

No matter what sort of punishment your facing for this crime, you're lucky.

Maddie, you have been blessed to have your health. The fact that you didn't have to suffer through the ungodly pain of chemotherapy and cancer radiation for months should be a good thing, right?

You got to enjoy her life while countless good people tried to help her in any way they could. If these claims are correct, you were rolling in this money while my own mother went day after day to her cancer radiation

Any jail time or consequence that she will receive from the criminal justice system is a million times better than what the millions of cancer patients have to go through in their day to day lives.

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