Cancer fundraiser prompts call to police

Cancer Fundraiser Prompts Call To Police

DERBY, N.Y. -- A mom and dad from Derby started a fundraiser this summer called Flush Away Cancer to help the families of children battling the disease. The fundraiser involves placing toilets in your friends' yards until they donate ten dollars.

Someone in Lewiston didn't like the fact that a toilet ended up in his yard on Tuesday and called police. Police then called the family and now the family is reworking the fundraiser.

"Andrew is now ten and he has been battling brain cancer since he was seven. So we've had a little bit of experience with dealing with hospital stays and medical bills," says Andrew’s mom, Jennifer Masse.

When Jennifer Masse's friend told her about a Flush Away Cancer fundraiser she saw in another state, Jennifer was on board. The Masses are raising money to buy gift cards for moms and dads visiting Roswell.

"When we got our first gift card three years ago, I cried. You know? Because it was just so nice that someone was giving us something and it was a five dollar Tim Hortons card, but it was like for me? Really? It was just so touching to actually receive something like that that helped out," says Jennifer Masse.

In order to raise money, Andrew's parents decorated several toilets. There are around 30 now across WNY. They each have a different theme and got dropped off in the yards of people they know.

"Basically how it works is that they make a donation to our gofundme site, and then they get to pick the next house that the toilet gets delivered to. Usually, they stay within family circles and friends and things like that. We really don't just go dump them on someone's lawn that we don't know," says Jennifer Masse.

The requested donation is 10, 15 or 25 dollars. But Tuesday, a man in Lewiston got one of the toilets and called the Masses to ask them about the fundraiser. Then he called police.

"Unfortunately, rather than call us to have the toilet removed, he called the police station that someone had illegally dumped a toilet on his lawn. So later on that day, both Mark and I received phone calls from the Lewiston Police Department accusing us of illegally dumping and telling us that we had to come pick up the toilet or we would be charged,” says Jennifer Masse.

They say they never heard from the officer again after the man's friend took the toilet back.

After raising more than eight-thousand dollars, the family has decided to collect the toilets and only distribute them by request.

"We're still, kind of a fresh wound let's say. Still trying to figure out how to deal with it all. People want us to keep it going, with winter coming and everything else it's just going be a little tough," says Mark Masse.

2 On Your Side called Lewiston Police Wednesday afternoon, and the chief called back after our story aired at 10 p.m. He says the officer never told the couple they'd be charged with anything and that Jennifer and Mark were simply told to remove the toilet from the man's yard.

If you would like to help Andrew's family help other families at Roswell, you can go to their gofundme page.


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