CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The parents of a toddler who is fighting stage four cancer are shocked after they said they received a hateful message from a stranger.
Callie Shaffer, who is a little more than 1 year old, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in January. She has since spent more than 100 days at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Her family members said she has faced chemotherapy treatments, viruses and this week, a major operation. Surgeons, her relatives said, removed about 90 percent of a cancerous tumor that was inside her abdomen.
“Through everything, she has always kept the biggest smile. She’s tiny, but mighty, for a reason," said Trisha Lamb, Callie’s aunt. “Just watching her strength, it’s inspiring.”
The silly, sweet little girl inspires her parents, Tiffany and Albree Shaffer (Candice Beal), to never give up hope. From the start, they said the support has been overwhelming and has helped them get through each and every day.
Callie’s parents said they were stunned when they received what they called a hate-filled, horrible message from someone they do not know.
“I was disgusted. I was shocked," said Albree. "That’s mainly what it was -- shock and hurt at the same time.”
In the message, the person wrote: “My prayers for Callie. I was going to donate $7600.00 to her fund, but I found out her parents are lesbian. I’ve chosen to donate to St. Jude due to that fact. Sorry. I’ll still pray for her though, but maybe it’s God’s way of getting your attention that she needs a mommy and a daddy, not two mommies.”
“If you don’t agree with anything, that’s fine. We’re not asking you to. We’re not asking for that. We just ask for prayers and support for Callie," said Lamb. “She’s loved. She’s being taken care of. Why does it matter? Why would you want to hurt someone who is already hurting?”
Though Callie’s family said the message was heartbreaking to read, they said it is not about them. It is about Callie -- they actually thanked whoever sent the message, saying it has brought more awareness to her journey.
Callie’s parents said the person’s words will not change how much they love their daughter, or how hard they are going to fight beside her.
The Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls are raising money for Callie and her family during the team’s home-opener on April 13. Details can be found here.
Anyone wishing to help can also donate meal cards to the Shaffers. To do so, call 513-636-5009 and press number nine. Each meal card is $6. Callie’s parents said to use the name Callie Reynolds because the hospital has not changed her last name since she was adopted! The family is asking anyone who donates a food card to message the Callie Strong Facebook page to let them know.
You can follow Callie’s journey here.