Friends who shaved their heads and got tattoos to support a California woman’s cancer fight were shocked when the woman they thought was dying was accused of faking it all for money.
Investigators say the 25-year-old Chula Vista woman claimed to have cancer and accepted thousands of dollars in donations from strangers, family and friends for more than a year.
In the summer of 2013, Meaghan Hudson sent a text to her friends and family with the saddest of news. She said it was cancer, multiple myeloma, and chances for survival were low.
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“At one point there was the understanding that she may have had less than a year to live,” Hudson’s high school friend Chelsey Whild told NBC 7 Tuesday.
Whild was Hudson's closest friend from their high school days in Dayton, Ohio. She and other friends rallied support by shaving their heads.
They got tattoos that read "sing on" - part of a chorus they all sang together as teenagers.
“It's not like she said, ‘Oh no. Don't get that tattoo,’” Whild said. “She was all for it. I know she thoroughly enjoyed being the center of it all.”
Hudson's parents started an online fundraiser that garnered $5,000 in support.
Whild said she helped to raise an additional $2,000 at Dayton bowling alley fundraiser the following summer.
“I wanted to show her that she wasn't alone,” Whild said.
Well wishes and support stopped only after an anonymous tipster told Chula Vista police the truth last July. Hudson wasn't dying of cancer.
“I just think it was a lie that got out of hand, “ Chula Vista Police Lieutenant Fritz Reber said.
Investigators say when confronted, Hudson admitted she faked the illness.
She is due in court this month to face felony charges of theft by deception and grand theft.
Hudson's stepmother and father live in Texas. Margaret Hudson talked with NBC 7 on Tuesday and explained that Meaghan has a history of lying to get attention.
She and her husband have posted an apology on the fundraising page and promised to refund the donations.
Margaret says her step daughter needs to recognize the wrong doing and show true remorse.
Hudson is out on bond and living with a friend. When NBC 7 asked him how Hudson is handling the criminal investigation, he told us Hudson felt like the world was “hating on her.”
When asked if we could talk with Hudson, her roommate said she was not at home or available to talk.
Hudson's parents haven't spoken to her since her arrest.
Whild hasn't spoken with her either.
“It's still unreal sometimes. I still can't believe that it happened,” Whild said.
Chula Vista Police said Hudson is due in court April 29.