Montreal

Teen robbed of $30K awaits heart transplant

A critically ill teenage girl in a Montreal hospital says she may not be able to afford her medication after her aunt allegedly stole money raised for her medical needs.

Aunt allegedly stole money raised for 19-year-old's medical bills

Jessica Bondar, 19, has been connected to a machine that artificially pumps her blood for more than a year and a half. (CBC)

A critically ill young woman in a Montreal hospital says she may not be able to afford her medication after her aunt allegedly stole money raised for her medical needs.

Winnipeg native Jessica Bondar, 19, is waiting for a heart transplant at Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital after suffering life-threatening complications from the flu almost two years ago.

Her aunt, Cheryl Matheson, 38, set up a trust fund in 2009 and made a public plea to raise money for Bondar's medical needs.

Jessica Bondar's aunt Cheryl Matheson during a CBC interview in 2009. ((CBC))
But Matheson was arrested on fraud charges in Winnipeg Wednesday after allegedly withdrawing a large portion of the approximately $30,000 raised for her own personal use.

Bondar was in a coma for almost two months after contracting the flu in 2009, and has been in hospital in Montreal, where her mother lives, for the last year and a half.

"After I'm getting a transplant, I'll be on medication for the rest of my life," she said. "I’ll have to pay for that for the rest of my life, that’s the reason for raising money in the first place."

Bondar said she and her aunt were the only two with access to the account, and she was distraught when she saw where the money was going.

Jessica Bondar says she hopes to get married and travel once she gets a heart transplant. (CBC)
"I was shocked, angry … the charges from the bank, it said that she re-did her pool, she bought a car, she bought horses," she said.

"She looks like a nice person, because she acts nice, but not really."

Bondar said her family will drop the charges if all the money is returned. Until then, she said she wants to focus on getting better, and she's confident she'll get a new heart soon.

"When I get better I plan to get married and travel."

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