Mom: Cruel hoax cost cancer-stricken son his life

SEATTLE -- A local family already facing more than its share of adversity was dealt a devastating setback by a stranger who they say preyed on a terminally ill teenager.

It was the generosity of a complete stranger that gave the Doty family hope that their son's life could be saved by expensive cancer treatments. But the promise of big bucks for that treatment turned out to be hoax and possible caused a young man his life.

Wednesday, 20-year-old Thomas Doty lost his battle with a rare form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma.

"I honestly believed...and the doctors we were working with believed wholeheartedly that they could save Thomas' life," said Tiffany Doty, Thomas' mother.

Just a week ago, Thomas was showing promise and improving daily after a stay in a California Hospital specializing in difficult cancer cases. But getting to that point took the Doty family on an emotional roller coaster they never imagined.

The family needed to raise $50,000 for the treatment, while facing foreclose on their Maple Valley home. In September, a famous friend stepped in -- Deadliest Catch star Jonathan Hillstrand.

He asked his fans to help Thomas. And then came reason to hope -- a stranger emailed Thomas' mother, promising a check for $250,000.

"She would get on the phone with me and say, 'I'm so sorry for what your going through and did you tell Thomas the wire is on the way?' " Tiffany Doty said.

But after eight weeks of back and forth, stories and reassurances, the money never came. It was time Thomas could have been receiving life-saving treatment. Instead, he was slowly slipping away.

"She went to great lengths and just broke Thomas he needed more disappointment in his life," Tiffany Doty said.

KOMO 4 News shared Thomas' story, and the community responded, raising enough money to get the young man to California.

While Thomas showed great improvement, lost time had taken its toll.

"I honestly 100 percent believe my son would be here if that time had not been wasted," Tiffany Doty said.

Now the Doty's are left with memories of a son who loved life and wanted nothing more than to live it.

"His favorite quote was, 'Shoot for the stars...see you in heaven,' " she said.

The family's attorney says if he can track this person down, he'll take her to court for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The Doty's say she is even now harassing their family. They plan to contact police after they lay their son to rest

Thomas Doty's funeral will be held Saturday at Christian Faith Center at 12:30 p.m. in Federal Way.