Last year's heartwarming story of a GoFundMe campaign turning around the life of a homeless Good Samaritan turned out to be a fraud. It seems like we live in a world where anyone will do anything for a buck. People abandon their principles and values for money, but it seems like Emily Scheck is one of the good ones.
Too bad her parents don't see that.
Scheck,19, was abruptly cut off from her family earlier this month. The sophomore was in the middle of her semester at Canisius College where she received a partial athletic scholarship. In addition to that she also worked several jobs.
Still, it wasn't enough to make ends meet.
Her trouble started when Scheck's mother uncovered a photo of her and her girlfriend Justyna. Her mother told her to drop out of school and enter sexual-conversion therapy or face the consequences.
Scheck refused to leave her school and was promptly cut out of her family.
'Well, I am done with you. As of right now, declare yourself independent. You are on your own. Please don't contact us or your siblings," read a text message from Scheck's mother.
Scheck returned to her college home in Buffalo and found her childhood belongings stuffed inside the car she had purchased herself. Her father had been paying her insurance, but stopped payments. He even removed her license plates. Her family lives in Rochester, so he would have had to travel to offload her things.
The cost of her education was mounting, and Scheck's friends decided to help. They set up a GoFundMe for a modest $5,000 to help her get on her feet again. They got more than they bargained for.
For many, Scheck's story resonated. Many people relate to the stress and fear of coming out, even if their parents behaved better than Scheck's. Within a week the GoFundMe had topped $100,000. That's when Scheck pulled the plug.
"I never expected this amount of support. I have chosen to stop accepting online donations because what has been given is more than anyone could have expected," she wrote.
She encouraged anyone wanting to donate to do so to their local LGBT charities so they can help others in a similar situation.
Scheck's father told The Buffalo News that the family's messages were out of "hurt and anger" but they accept Emily. She isn't so sure. She says her family didn't change their tune until the GoFundMe page began to be noticed.
The holiday season can be a hard time when you aren't with family, but Scheck is keeping an optimistic outlook.
"I now know that family is not always something you have, but it's something you find."
I hope her found family treats her better than her real one did.