Family concerned over Facebook event asking for donations after teen's death

Teen died after five-month battle with cancer

SAN DIEGO - UPDATE: Team 10 interviewed the girl behind the Facebook post and her mother Tuesday. They said it was a miscommunication and she was in contact with Gates' sister and father. The event will be held Sunday, December 15th at It's Time hair salon at 5210 Linda Vista Road from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They will be collecting toys for Rady Childen's Hospital in honor of Karissa Gates. All donations for the Gates family should be made out to Bishop Mortuary for Karissa Gates. Read the story here: http://bit.ly/18BpIQy

A grieving San Diego family who lost their daughter to cancer called Team 10 because of a concerning fundraiser. They say someone they never met has set up a Facebook event asking for funeral donations for their daughter.

The family of 16-year-old Karissa Gates said she loved dancing and making others smile.

"She was a blast … always happy, always dancing around. She would come up and do this with my chest," said godfather Frances Gebo, making a pushing motion on his chest.

The girl they all loved so much lost her battle with cancer on Dec. 4.

She was diagnosed five months ago and her mother was by her side until the very end.

"'I know you are in a lot of pain, if you want to go, just go. I'll be OK,'" said mother Tima Gates.

Now the family is dealing with losing their little girl and the confusion of a Facebook post and event. They said a young girl they do not know is asking for donations for Gates' funeral.

"She posted on Facebook make checks payable to me. That just doesn't seem reasonable to me at all," said Tima Gates.

Her family reached out to the girl and Gebo talked to her on the phone.

"I said, 'Who are you going to make the payment to?' said Gebo. "She said the funeral home and I said, 'Well, which funeral home?' And she said 'well, well' and didn't have an answer and I said, 'You know what? This doesn't seem right.'"

After family members contacted the girl on Facebook, she said she is not collecting checks and just wants to help.

The girl told Team 10 she is a friend of a friend and just wanted to do something nice in memory of Gates.

She is now holding a toy drive at a hair salon for Rady Children's Hospital with a jar where people can donate money.

"If you are going to go to that extent, then you would go to that extent to contact the family," said Tima Gates.

The family actually does need help for the funeral. They only have $700 of the $12,000 they need to bury the teenager.

"It's a big expense," said Gebo. "We were totally unprepared. We have five months and she was gone."

He added, "Four o'clock in the morning, I was awoken to two hands hitting me in the chest. I woke up and there was no one there. I think she was telling me bye."

Team 10 reached out to the teenager behind the event on Facebook. In messages, she wrote:

"I'm not just gonna hand the money over to her mother. I don't know how her family is or what they will use it for! Ok!"

"This is really hurtful and degrading to be put down as if I'm doing something bad. All the money will be donated in memory of Karissa to Children's Hospital."

The Gates family asks that any donations be made straight to Bishop Mortuary in Karissa Gates' name.

Print this article Back to Top