A former Milton Keynes Hospital worker whose dead son’s photo was stolen and used for a bogus fundraiser has spoken about her shock.
Leigh Kendall, 38, who works at Milton Keynes Hospital, lost her premature son Hugo after just 35 days and now runs a blog to celebrate his life, writing about a number of issues including how to move forward after suffering such a loss.
Just over two years into the grieving process, Leigh was contacted by a woman to say a picture of Hugo in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was being used on a fundraising page.
Leigh said: “It was a complete stranger who got in touch about the photo and it was really kind of her to tell us. She knew it was Hugo in the picture because she had seen his story online.
“I felt sick.”
The stolen photograph of two-day-old Hugo originally featured on a blog post written by Leigh’s husband, Martin, 43, about a dad’s experience of the NICU. A GoFundMe page that used the picture claimed that a woman had a sick child and needed money to help with $10,000 medical bills.
Leigh added: “I have no proof the page was fraudulent and the woman could have an ill child and needs money quickly, but who would use a picture of someone else’s baby who died to raise money for themselves?”
After reaching out to her friends and family to join in reporting the page featuring Hugo’s photo, GoFundMe took the fundraiser appeal down.
Leigh said: “The advice I would give is to speak to the website as soon as possible and get support from friends and family because this helps a lot – we had strength in numbers.”