Parents caught faking son's cancer to meet NCAA football team


We’re barely four months into the year and we already have our winners for 2018’s Sickest Sports Fans Award.

Martin and Jolene LaFrance of upstate New York allegedly made up a story that their child had cancer in order to get about $3,000 in donations for his fictional recovery and an opportunity to be special guests of the Syracuse University football team, according to

The Orange agreed to host the couple, their son and other family members during a practice last August.

The child, then 9 years old, got to meet head coach Dino Babers, play catch with wideout Erv Philips, receive throwing tips from quarterback Eric Dungey and stand in the middle of the huddle when the team broke down practice.

“It was a 10-out-of-10 night,” the boy’s uncle, Justin Roe, told at the time. “The staff is just so amazing, especially with it being the second practice (of preseason camp). Just taking the time, every coach in the middle of doing drills, to come over and chat with him. It blew my expectations away.”

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The report said it had been a “difficult year” for the boy, “who was diagnosed with Hogkin’s lymphoma in January and recently had his diagnosis upped to Stage 3 lymphoma. He’s already undergone a full round of radiation, is about a month into three-per-week chemotherapy sessions and has had multiple lymph nodes removed via surgery.”

After a four-month investigation, however, the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office “conclusively” determined that the child had never been diagnosed with cancer.

The LaFrances were charged Friday with scheming to defraud and endangering the welfare of a child.

Investigators found the couple received about $3,000 in donations through a GoFundMe page, which apparently has been deleted. noted that an archive of the page from Aug. 30, 2017, shows $3,334 in donations.

The archive indicates the page was created by Misty David Taylor, a medical professional from Port Byron, where the LaFrances live.

“I am starting this Go Fund Me to help a deserving family going through something no family should ever have to deal with,” the GoFundMe appeal reads. “The LaFrance family recently found out their son … has cancer. [He] was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma initially, if that isn’t bad enough they were just given the news that he has a malignant tumor in his abdomen, & gastroperisis. [The boy] has to go to the children’s hospital several times a week for treatments which has forced both Jolene and Marty to take a leave of absence from work. They have been out of work since March leaving them with no income. Any funds raised will go towards medical expenses, gas for travel, and anything else related to this difficult time!”

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In comments on the page, Martin LaFrance wrote, “I am truly humbled and at a lost for words, thank you all from the bottom of my heart, your generosity and compassion are simply amazing and overwhelming.”

He and his wife are scheduled to appear in court May 16 to be arraigned.

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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
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Politics, Media, Sports