Sherry Kriss-Dillane says a woman who is soliciting businesses for cash donations, claiming they are on behalf of Dillane's son Deven, is doing so without her knowledge or approval.
"I have been in tears for two days," said Dillane, who has become well-known in the community as she tries to raise the money to pay for a diabetes awareness dog for Deven, who has Type I diabetes and lacks the ability to sense when his blood sugar is too high or too low.
Dillane has been fundraising since January to pay for the dog, which can detect dangerous swings in a person's blood sugar and alert the person and those around them to the problem.
"This makes me look bad," Dillane said.
She first became aware on Tuesday that a woman was approaching businesses, dropping her name and that of Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr., in an attempt to get cash donations. She was in a local business seeking help with an event she is hosting this weekend when the business owner told her a woman had just been in the day before looking for a cash donation.
The business owner told Dillane the woman displayed a brochure of dogs -- German shepherds, -- and had copies of a flyer with information about Deven's situation.
"I haven't given anyone permission to solicit for me," Dillane said Thursday night. "I am not soliciting stores after this weekend."
Even when she has approached businesses, Dillane said she has done that herself and has never allowed or asked anyone to do it on her behalf.
This weekend the family is hosting a community cleanup event which will earn Deven $500. Volunteers are needed to help clean up litter in the area of Timberline Drive and Butternut Lane, and the Dillanes are hosting a barbecue afterward.
Dillane said it was in preparing for this event -- she contacted four businesses seeking their assistance -- when she was told by one that a woman had already contacted them about supporting the event, and that the woman had been given five gift cards. Dillane said she has been told the woman has approached other businesses as well.
So far, more than $20,000 has been raised to help pay for Deven's dog, which the Dillanes are obtaining from Warren Retrievers, where the dogs receive specialized training to assist children like Deven.
Dillane said she needs to raise $4,100 more to cover the "care kit," which includes insurance, neutering of the dog, a special 9-1-1 enabled phone in case of emergencies, and a few other things. The family received notification on Monday that they will be receving a male dog.
Dillane said she's raising the remainder through vending events, through selling T-shirts and through informational solicitations outside places such as Walmart.
The woman in question has solicited businesses in both Berkeley and Toms River, Dillane said.