When The News featured a story on the plight of teenager Sam John, our readers responded with typical compassion, warmth and generosity.
Within hours, donations were flooding into a fund to help raise thousands of pounds for vital treatment that his family hope will save his life.
It’s a response that delighted but did not surprise us – we’re used to readers rising to the occasion to help when we feature people who need support.
But what has surprised and shocked us is the revelation that fraudsters appear to have targeted the fund to try to get their hands on some of the cash that has been donated.
There is a newspaper cliche that such people are described as ‘the lowest of the low’ – but never has that been more fitting than in this case.
Remember, this money was donated at a time when Sam John’s family feared that he may never get the treatment that could save him.
There was doubt about whether he qualified for the NHS to contribute to the cost of the potentially life-saving procedure.
Happily, the NHS came down on Sam’s side and agreed to fund it – but the money raised is still vitally important to Sam and his family as they struggle with the costs of supporting him through his ordeal and the future costs of his continuing care.
It is a blessing that security procedures appear to have picked up the anomaly before more money changed hands, and that will at least be of some comfort.
Still, the idea that anyone could even consider attempting to plunder from his fund in these extremely difficult circumstances is unthinkable.
We trust that the authorities will treat this as seriously as they can in order to find those responsible,
And we can only hope and trust that once they are through this ordeal, the family of Sam John will remember the many hundreds of people who have reached out to them in support rather than the individual or handful of individuals who don’t care who they trample over to make a quick buck.