The Ashya King story - Unanswered questions...
When this story first aired, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. This beautiful boy and his loving parents being put through such an ordeal, due to failings by the NHS and the Government.
These parents were locked up and branded criminals, for simply wanting to give their son the treatment they deemed best. This treatment was not requested on a whim, it is in fact proven to be a much less invasive treatment for a child with this particular type of cancer, and the Kings, quite rightly so wanted access to this for their precious son.
I was so appalled by this story, that I immediately took to Facebook to see if there was a page, or group that I could somehow reach out to this family, and offer my services.
That's when I came across the "Fight for Ashya King" Facebook page. I then realised, I was not alone, thousands of other members of the public were flocking to the group, to offer their services.
There was lawyers offering free legal advice, web designers offering to make a website, Twitter campaigns being run, people asking how to donate, and much more. People really wanted to help this little boy and his family.
A petition was started on change.org, that was signed by 257,323 supporters, and taken to Downing street by family friends of the Kings, Ethan Dallas (founder of the official Indegogo page) and Sanjay Gantara (founder of the justgiving page, via KidsNCancer)
Naveed released this video, asking for private donations. (NOW BEEN DELETED)
A light at the end of the tunnel...
Children's charity KidsnCancer, a charity designed to help children in the UK receive life saving Proton Therapy treatment for their cancers and tumours, offered to pay the 100K for the Proton Beam Therapy, that the Kings nearly had to sell their second home to access.
So with the Proton Beam Therapy being paid for, and all the donations the Kings received through the gofundme account, and the Paypal account, it seemed justice had finally prevailed and Ashya would get the treatment he deserved.
The NHS finally decided to step in (after immense public pressure) and pay for the Proton Beam Therapy.
Shortly afterwards, a post went in to the 'Fight for Ashya King' Facebook group by Naveed King:
"General update: Just wanted to clear up some confusion that exists concerning donations made via Just Giving and Kids N Cancer as some people are wondering where their money has ended up. Anybody who has ever donated anything to Just Giving or Kids N Cancer has not ever been forwarded to Ashya for any of his expenses but has stayed with the charity for a purpose that is not clear to us. We also are in no doubt that we will never receive money from Kids N Cancer to help Ashya with ongoing expenses. We hope this resolves any misunderstandings as regards to donations"
So we all, of course headed over to the KidsNCancer Facebook page, to see what was going on. Shortly afterwards, CEO Mike Hymen released this statement:
"Kids n Cancer UK offered to underwrite and pay for the proton therapy treatment before anybody had stepped forward whilst Mr and Mrs King were in prison. In the meantime the National Health Service paid for the treatment plus the family received £60,000 from the Daily Mail, £30,000 from another charity PLUS £25,672 through Indiegogo and that is on top of the private Spanish account where Naveed requested that all monies for Ashya were paid into this.
Kids n Cancer have helped many many families over the years and will continue to do so, there are many many families who do not get the sort of donations that the Kings have had. The Just Giving Page was set up by Sanjay Gunatra who specified that now the treatment has been paid for that the donations will go towards helping other sick children and their families. The Kings asked us to pay their legal expenses which we cannot legally do, there has obviously been a significant amount of money raised and I reiterate that Kids n Cancer were prepared to underwrite £100,000 to pay for Ashya Kings treatment. There are many families who are not as fortunate with the fund raising as the Kings. We always try to make a difference and the money will be used to assist other sick children - which has always been the case".
KidsNCancer had offered to underwrite the 100K for treatment, regardless of any internal donations. They did not set up the justgiving account in Ashyas name, it was set up by a friend of the Kings, Sanjay Gunatra. He stated that the funds were being raised for Ashyas Proton Beam Therapy and that any surplus funds would go to help other children with the cancer. So since the PBT was subsequently funded by the NHS and the Kings were given over 100K in donations, KidNCancer used the justgiving funds to help other children.
Then articles such as this were being reported courtesy of Brett King.
There was no mention of this vast amount of money they had been donated in the FFAK page. People started wondering why they would attack the charity, when they had been given such a large amount of cash, plus the treatment was eventually funded.
It seemed to us that, KidsNCancer were the only ones to offer assistance, when there was none. And if they raised some money off Ashyas back, that he no longer needed, then surely the Kings would be thrilled that other, less fortunate children in Ashyas position would benefit?
This is when opinions started to change, and people were starting to couple together the earlier inconsistencies, the admins attitude, the donation handling, the lack of answers, and starting to ask questions...
In the beginning, it all seemed a little weird, but it no one wanted to speak up. The admins of the FFAK group, would start a public shaming of anyone who tried to raise funds for the Kings unless it was their private accounts. The owner of one Facebook page, was left very upset after she was vilified for her efforts. They sent members over to the page, demanding she stop fundraising and calling her a fraud.
Questions were being asked daily about Ashya's health, money raised, money needed etc but Naveed was nowhere to be seen. Yet, the minute the Paypal account was closed, due to Paypals security ensuring the unusual influx of money was legitimate, he was instantly on the page, sending people to the Indegogo page. Then the minute it was fixed, he was asking that all donations be paid to his personal account.
Now with Indegogo, all money goes to the Paypal account anyway, but it's more transparent, in the fact that the public can see totals. Paypal is closed, so unless a screenshot is produced, the public would never truly know what was raised. Which has been asked many, many times, but Naveed simply ignores requests.
Eventually, via media we found out some of the funds they had raised...
- £25,672 raised via the Indegogo campaign.
- £60,000 from the Daily Mail exclusive.
- £30,000 from Cancer relief UK
- £58,000 from Patricia King (Ashyas grandmother)
- £8,888 in Paypal (last documented on Sept 2nd) just days after it started being the sole account the Kings were requesting that funds be paid.
- A yet undisclosed amount in the Spanish bank account opened in Danny Kings name.
We also heard via media that:
- The house the entire family are staying in, in Spain, was completely funded by a charity.
- The NHS fully paid for the Proton Beam Therapy.
- The Spanish Lawyer, Juan Isidro Fernandez Diaz, a former judge and one of Seville’s most respected lawyers, appalled by the Kings’ ordeal, contacted their eldest son, Danny, offering to represent them for free.
"To this day, this generous-spirited man hasn’t presented the Kings with a bill for so much as a cup of coffee. Instead, he’s made a personal donation towards Ashya’s treatment."
- The Kings were offered a full Pro-Bono legal team at the beginning of September. This came from a body called "Justice for Families". This team included an M.P. and a Q.C no less. The King family declined this generous offer for free legal assistance. They then questionably, chose to engage in legal support from other UK and Spanish lawyers. They have now purportedly landed themselves with a bill for around £45,000.
So why all these begging articles stating that they are going to have to sell their second home? Surely they're in a fantastic position, compared to when they decided to take the law in to their own hands some weeks prior.
The "Official" FFAK groups cover photo, showing the donation methods they insisted on.
Questions the Kings won't answer.....
The admins of the "Fight for Ashya King" Facebook group, caused some concern from the very beginning, but you put it down to inexperience and age. It was only when legitimate questions started getting asked that you really did start to wonder.
The admins would literally attack and block anyone that dared to question and say that they were "against the Kings". These are people that have followed the story from day one, and donated their hard earned money. A lot of people just wanted answers.
Some of the members that have spoken out made up this group, looking for answers.
Some of the questions people would be vilified for:
- How much was paid in to that elusive Paypal account?
- What these "huge costs" are that they're allegedly accruing?
- Why haven't they sold their second home, like they originally planned?
- Are you all on UK benefits whilst in Spain?
- Why is there 5 adults, all of working age there, when they could be earning money to support the family?
- Why is the entire family there?, when that will make the costs rocket unnecessarily. In most cases like this the child has only one accompanying adult due to costs.
- Why do they ban members who ask questions about where the money's going, from the group? Surely if you have kindly given them money, you're entitled to answers, no?
- Why won't they be transparent with all they had raised, and all they have paid out? Especially when they're being publicly being questioned.
- Why would any family that have had so much help, want to discredit the only charity that was there from them in the beginning?
- Why aren't you thrilled that KidsNCancer are now able to help a lot more children in Ashyas situation, because of Ashya?