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Cancer scam victim relives ordeal
A schoolboy whose own mother persuaded him he had cancer so she could fraudulently claim benefits has spoken about the "horrible" ordeal.
The youngster, who had his head and eyebrows shaved as part of the £85,000 scam, said he believed he was going to die.
His mother, from the Stroud area of Gloucestershire, was jailed on Tuesday after she forged doctors' notes and made it look as though her son was taking medication for the disease.
She also forced him to wear a bandana and sent him to school in a wheelchair, where he was unable to run around and play and became the "butt of jokes". Speaking after his mother was jailed for one count of child cruelty, eight counts of fraud and one of forgery, the boy told The Mirror: "It was horrible being made to think I had cancer.
"My mum made me think I was going to die. I asked her to tell me why she did it but she wouldn't say. She made me miss out on all the fun."
The schoolboy, who can not be identified for legal reasons, added: "I would have loved to go down the park and play tag and football with all the other kids. "But my mum made me stay at home to rest. I felt like I'd been singled out. I didn't want to be different. But she made people treat me like I was different. She wouldn't let me be like a normal kid."
The boy's mother, who also can not be named, used the money she fraudulently claimed in benefits to take her children to Florida, where she made her son sit in the wheelchair so they could jump queues.
As well as claiming £85,899.44 in benefits, she was given a Vauxhall Zafira to help her transport the boy around.
She sent forged letters to the Department of Work and Pensions and the boy's school claiming he was suffering from autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) and later lymphoma - a type of cancer. She even put the "news" that her son had cancer on her Facebook page.
Judge Jamie Tabor QC sentenced the boy's mother to three years and nine months in prison, adding that having her children taken from her was also a powerful punishment.