Family dealing with son's rare cancer says they've been scammed

Family dealing with son's rare cancer says they've been scammed
SEATTLE -- The family of a 19-year-old with a rare form of cancer thought they'd received a life-saving offer, but now they say they've been scammed.

Thomas Doty has been fighting for his life since being diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2009.

"It's a very rare bone cancer and only 400 kids in the states are diagnosed each year," said his mother, Tiffany Doty.

The family has been able to get Thomas the treatment he needs -- including multiple surgeries -- but the cancer has come back each time faster and more aggressive.

Tiffany said the family is now in financial chaos. She found a California hospital that specializes in tough cancer cases, but it will cost $50,000 at a time when the family is facing the foreclosure of their home.

Just when things were looking bleak, a famous family friend stepped in.

Johnathan Hillstrand from "the Deadliest Catch" television show asked his fans to help Thomas. Not long after that, it seemed their prayers had been answered.

Six weeks ago, a woman claiming to be an Indiana nurse emailed Tiffany to say she was going to send a $250,000 check to pay for treatment.

"I was in shock," Tiffany said. "I thought, OK let's not get too excited because I don't know who she is. And then she called me."

After that conversation, Tiffany was convinced. A short time later, Tiffany got another offer from someone claiming to be the Indiana woman's mother. She pledged to donate $15,000 to the cause.

"They went so far as to contact the treatment center and say, 'We're faxing you our financial information and do you take credit cards.' We thought, this is wonderful," Tiffany said.

But six weeks later, no money has come through and the mysterious benefactor has been giving Tiffany wild tales and excuses. Now the family is convinced they've been scammed.

They believe one woman is behind both offers and is more concerned about the family's TV star friend than the health of their son.

"The sickest part is her saying, 'Did you tell Thomas? Is he happy? Did you tell him we are paying for all of his treatment?'" Tiffany said.

Despite all the lies and heartache, Tiffany said she has a job to do.

"All I know is my son is sick," she said. "He hasn't had a life at all. He's been in pain in the hospital getting cut open or being stuck with needles, chemicals. He wants to see that silver lining. He just wants a normal, normal 19 year old life."

The family's attorney said if he can track down the Indiana woman, he'll take her to court for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

More information about how you can help is available online.

Editor's Note: In the original story we said the treatment would cost $500,000, but the correct amount was $50,000