Victims speak out after woman fakes cancer to benefit off f

Yuma

Victims speak out after woman fakes cancer to benefit off fundraisers

Posted:

YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) – The recent story of a Yuma woman sentenced to jail for faking ovarian cancer and benefiting off of fundraisers has caused outrage from the community.

Today, one woman who stood by P. Kody Grode is speaking out.

Gina Tolomei says now that justice has been served, the community shouldn't back down from helping those who do need help.

Tolomei says she was betrayed by her best friend Kody Grode.

Tolomei says for almost a year, Grode pretended to have stage three ovarian cancer, until one day she moved out of the condo their shared unannounced.

"My mom went and talked to her father and she was like, ‘Look, your daughter owes us money and I know she's going through a tough time with cancer,' ‘And he was like what?! She doesn't have cancer.'"

Tolomei's mother then went straight to the sheriff's office to file a report in February.

In March, deputies arrested Grode for fraud and theft.

During the time Grode faked having cancer, the Tolomei family was also dealing with a loved one battling the deadly disease.

"I was terrified of losing my grandpa, which I did, and I was terrified of losing my best friend, which in the end I lost her anyways."

Tolomei says Grode would use her grandfather's stories and those of others to keep her lies going.

She says her grandpa even have Grode advice on how to fight through it.

"Tthey had a connection and he believed her... So seeing her lie to my grandpa who is now not with us because of cancer; that's what angers me the most."

The Tolomei family even held a fundraiser for Grode and still can't grasp why she did it.

In June, Grode took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to theft.

On Friday, Tolomei says justice was served when Judge Maria Elena Cruz sentenced Grode to 90 days in jail followed by probation and community service.

"I'm glad she got jail time. She needs to sit in there and think about what she did to everybody."

Tolomei says Grode may have put distrust in the minds of others, but this shouldn't impact those who really do need the support of the community.

"Cancer is not a joke, and there's people that need the help and need the money," Tolomei said. It's just one person unfortunately."

Tolomei hopes Grode does community service where she would have to care for cancer patients so she can see how serious her actions were, and have a better understanding of those fighting cancer every day.

 

  • Email Alert Sign Up

    Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.

    * denotes required fields


    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Go to KSWT-TV's Facebook page
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • National

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Obama warns of delay in social sec. checks and veteran's benefits

    Web Producer: Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor WASHINGTON (AP) -- Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits willMore >>
    Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed if congressional Republicans fail to increase the government's borrowing authority in a looming showdown over the nation's debt and spending.More >>
  • Yuma to Hold Back to School Rodeo Saturday

    Yuma to Hold Back to School Rodeo Saturday

    Yuma, AZ - The City of Yuma invites the community the Inaugural Back To School Rodeo, Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Civic Center, 1440 W. Desert Hills Drive The Back to School Rodeo is aMore >>
    The City of Yuma invites the community the Inaugural Back To School Rodeo, Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m at the Civic Center, 1440 W. Desert Hills Drive. The Back to School Rodeo is a free event that will bring more than 50 community organizations under one roof to provide a one-stop destination for area children's educational needs. Organizers say it is designed for grades K-8. More >>
  • Yuma

    Man tries to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into U.S. from Mexico

    Man tries to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into U.S. from Mexico

    ANDRADE, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - A Yuma man is busted for trying to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into the United States from Mexico. Customs and Border Protection officers discoveredMore >>
    A Yuma man is busted for trying to smuggle more than $500,000 worth of cocaine into the United States from Mexico.More >>
  • Yuma

    Resident speaks out about armed robbery in his neighborhood

    Resident speaks out about armed robbery in his neighborhood

    YUMA, AZ- Yuma Police continue to look for an armed robber wearing a black ski mask who used a shot gun to rob his victim. According to police an SUV with several passengers pulled up to a man whoMore >>
    Yuma Police continue to look for an armed robber  wearing a black ski mask who used a shot gun to rob his victim.More >>
  • Out with the old...

    Out with the old...

    It has been a staple in the Yuma community since the early 70's and the place to meet for the young and old alike. The Southgate Mall now sits on broken asphalt and bares the scares of more than 40 years; decades being passed from owner to owner and now it's set to be torn down to make way for a new more improved shopping center. Today the building has been stripped from within to make way for demolition equipment to tear down the center portion of the mall. Stores like Sear, Burlington and t...More >>
    It has been a staple in the Yuma community since the early 70's and the place to meet for the young and old alike. The Southgate Mall now sits on broken asphalt and bares the scares of more than 40 years; decades being passed from owner to owner and now it's set to be torn down to make way for a new more improved shopping center. Today the building has been stripped from within to make way for demolition equipment to tear down the center portion of the mall. Stores like Sear, Burlington and t...More >>
  • Israel invades Gaza after Hamas rejects truce

    Israel invades Gaza after Hamas rejects truce

    Thursday, July 17 2014 10:23 PM EDT2014-07-18 02:23:48 GMT
    The Israeli military says it has struck 37 targets in Gaza ahead of a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire meant to allow civilians to stock up after 10 days of fighting.More >>
    The heavy thud of tank shells, often just seconds apart, echoed across the Gaza Strip early Friday as thousands of Israeli soldiers launched a ground invasion, escalating a 10-day campaign of heavy air bombardments to try...More >>
  • New-Car Sales to Jump 11.6 Percent Year-Over-Year in July

    New-Car Sales to Jump 11.6 Percent Year-Over-Year in July

    New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 11.6 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.46 million units, resulting in an estimated 16.6 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book...More >>
    New-vehicle sales are expected to increase 11.6 percent year-over-year to a total of 1.46 million units, resulting in an estimated 16.6 million seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR), according to Kelley Blue Book...More >>
  • California hospitals fined over medical mistakes

    California hospitals fined over medical mistakes

    Six hospitals in Riverside and San Bernardino counties have been fined by state health officials for mistakes during surgery and other care that harmed patients - and in one case led to death.More >>
    Six hospitals in Riverside and San Bernardino counties have been fined by state health officials for mistakes during surgery and other care that harmed patients - and in one case led to death.More >>