Yuma, AZ — An Arizona woman who pretended to have ovarian cancer has been sentenced to jail.
Superior Court Judge Maria Elena Cruz sentenced Kody Grode to 90 days in jail Friday, followed by 36 months of probation. Grode was also ordered to pay more than $1,300 in restitution to her job and to a Yuma woman who gave her money. As part of her sentence, Grode must also do community service working with cancer patients. Cruz said the community service wasn’t mean as punishment, but to help Grode grow and see what she was “toying with.”
In 2012, Grode told her best friend, Gina Tolomei, and co-workers at Happy Trails Day Care that she had stage-three ovarian cancer. She also told them she underwent chemotherapy and had surgery to remove a tumor.
The 24-year-old received between $2,000 and $3,000 through personal donations and fundraisers, but friends eventually realized that something wasn’t adding up. Eventually, Gina Tolomei and her mother, Clara, brought the case to authorities.
Grode didn’t say why she made up the cancer story, but she apologized in court and said she wished she could take it all back.
Clara Tolomei read her daughter’s victim statement in court because the young woman was too devastated to do so. The letter said everything Grode did was premeditated and that she “made a mockery out of cancer and out of the people who fight for their lives.” Adding further insult to injury, Tolomei’s father was dying of cancer at the time of Grode’s charade. Tolomei said her daughter was very close to her grandfather, but she felt torn between him and Grode “thinking she was going to lose both of them.”
One of the women who donated money said Grode knew both of her parents were in remission from cancer.
Kody Grode was ordered to pay $1,248 to Happy Trails Day Care in monthly installments of $100. She was also ordered to pay $120 in two $60 monthly payments to the Yuma woman.
Do you think Kody Grode got a fair sentence for faking cancer?