The father of a Fife girl whose fight against leukaemia captured hearts and minds across the world has hit out at callous criminals who have tried to make cash out of the tragedy.
Graeme Jackson and his wife Amanda launched a $1 million fundraising campaign in August to pay for potentially life-saving treatment for their daughter Darci in America, raising more than £50,000 in just under 24 hours.
Six-year-old Darci, who had leukaemia, died days later in Saudi Arabia, where her family have been living since they emigrated from Kirkcaldy three years ago.
Money raised at her funeral last month was collected in aid of another child, Joshua Nicholson, who was facing a similar cancer battle.
However, it is now emerged that someone has created a second fundraising page purporting to be for Darci and using the same details make public by her family.
The fraudulent appeal, on the Go Fund Me website, has now been taken down, although it is not clear how many donations have been made to the fake page.
Graeme, 42, took to social media to express his anger, saying he felt “sick to the bottom of my stomach” after learning the news.
“Some sicko has set up a second go fund me page to raise £5,000 for Darci using exactly the same details that we had used,” he said.
“We did not set this page up and have received no funds from this. It has been reported to Go Fund Me and the local police.
“I’m so angry that someone would abuse what we are going through.
“They are sick – it is like-for-like of our original page.”
Graeme pledged he would work with the Go Fund Me website to try to ensure anyone who was cheated into making a donation is fully refunded.
“I wish I could catch this sicko,” he added.
Darci’s campaign went viral on the internet and hopes were high that the schoolgirl – who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblasic leukaemia – might be able to receive treatment in the United States.
However, her condition deteriorated and Graeme and Amanda had to deliver the heartbreaking news to supporters that their “superhero” Darci had lost her cancer battle.
They paid tribute to their “caring, feisty, brave, courageous, strong-willed and fun-loving little girl” and said she had “put up one hell of a fight”.
The couple, along with Darci’s brother and sister Daniel and Sienna, returned to their home town of Kirkcaldy to lay her to rest.
A spokesperson for GoFundMe confirmed: “We’ve removed this campaign and the organiser has been banned from GoFundMe.
“We’ve also refunded all donations under the GoFundMe guarantee. For more about the guarantee see gofundme.com/guarantee.”