Woman Who Faked Cancer Pocketed Sick Leave, Donations

A Tennessee woman has abruptly resigned her city government job after taking sick-leave donations from co-workers who believed she had cancer, and her employers are investigating whether she faked the illness, a mayor's spokesman said Wednesday.

Thirty-seven-year-old Keele Maynor also received support for years from nonprofit cancer groups, one of which said it was recently informed she wasn't a cancer patient.

Maynor resigned Friday from her job as an administrative assistant in the city's land development department, saying in a letter she has been "untruthful." The letter didn't elaborate on what she was untruthful about, and a listing for Maynor could not be found.

Chattanooga mayor's office spokesman Richard Beeland said officials are currently investigating whether to take legal action against Maynor, who he said took donations of leave time from other employees and may have also received money from them.

A Chattanooga police spokeswoman, Sgt. Jerri Weary, said no charges have been filed.

Rachel Houghton, director of the Helen Distefano Fund, a nonprofit agency in Chattanooga that assists cancer patients and their families, said the organization recently cut off its assistance to Maynor after learning she was not a cancer patient.

"We are just devastated by this and very sad," Houghton said.

Lynda LeVan, director of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength Chattanooga, said in a statement that Memorial Hospital informed them that someone participating in its programs and activities was "in fact, not being treated for breast cancer" at the hospital. LeVan wouldn't identify the person.

"This news came as a surprise," LeVan's statement said.

Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Karen Sloan said she could not provide personal medical information or comment about Maynor. A hospital statement said "whenever there are compassionate efforts from the heart of an organization to assist people in need, it is unfortunate that there seem to be a few who will want to take advantage of that support."