Woman faked cancer to save her marriage: 'It was an impulsive thing and it snowballed'

Elise Solé
Police say Amy Elissa Hammer of Seagrove, North Carolina faked suffering from cancer, accepting donations for false healthcare treatments. (Photo: The Randolph Sheriff’s Office)

A woman has admitted to having profited from a lie that she had cancer, in a scheme to save her troubled marriage.

Amy Ellissa Hammer of Seagrove, North Carolina, was arrested Thursday when a police investigation found that she had pretended to suffer from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, cancer that grows from the bone marrow.

According to information sent to Yahoo Lifestyle from the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, Hammer, 30, established a Facebook page called Amy’s Promise to accept donations for alleged healthcare costs. She also sold T-shirts. After Hammer’s arrest, a Mar. 23rd fundraiser at the Trinity Wesleyan Church of Seagrove was canceled; a church spokesperson did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

Caroline Staley, an employee of Transitions Salon and Spa of Asheboro, which planned to offer services for Hammer’s raffle, told Fox 8, “We’re just surprised by it, shocked by it, it’s bad for this community that someone would do that, you can’t trust people, and it makes us not want to donate because of people like that.”

The police are now determining how much money was donated to Hammer’s fake cause and how many victims were impacted.

“I do not have cancer,” Hammer told Fox 8, explaining that she lied to keep her marriage intact. “When he said he was going to leave me, it was an impulsive thing. We’ve been together so long, I was scared, terrified. That’s my three kids, my husband that I’ve known for so long. So it was an impulsive thing and it snowballed.”

“I have to deal with what I’ve done and that I hate myself,” Hammer said. “But I am sorry, I have to live with this. What I have done has hurt a lot of people, a lot.”

The mom promised to return the donations, saying, “Assumptions are like rumors, they just keep spreading and spreading, and I have three kids. What I’ve done to my children is awful and I have to live with that. I am trying to shelter my kids right now.” 

A family friend of Hammer’s who did not want Yahoo Lifestyle to publish her last name says Hammer messaged her about “exhausting” chemo appointments. “I suspected she was lying weeks after her diagnosis,” the woman tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I cried and cried when I found out. We’ve had ups and downs but I have always loved her for who she is.”

Hammer was charged with Obtaining Property by False Pretense and jailed on a $2,000 bond. She is due in Randolph County Superior Court on Apr. 22. “No matter what I say, it’s not an excuse and it’s not going to make it right, but I have to live with this,” Hammer told Fox 8. “I have to live with a lot of things because a lot of things are going to change.”

When reached for comment by Yahoo Lifestyle, a person who answered the phone at Hammer’s residence hung up.

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