PASADENA, Texas -- A community effort to raise money for a cancer victim is under fire after a story that aired on KHOU 11 News.
Deena Robinson, a single mother of three, says since telling her story, critics have accused her of faking her illness.
Robinson says it’s the last thing she and her family need.
“I would have to be a pretty demented person, pretty messed up,” said Deena Robinson.
KHOU told Robinson’s story after a man vanished with funds meant for her cancer benefit.
The benefit was organized by Da Pub in Pasadena, where Robinson is known and liked by many.
Critics took to the internet soon after the report aired and accused Robinson of being a con artist too.
“There’s no need for me to lie about being sick. I don’t need the money. If this benefit got cancelled, my kids and I would be just fine,” said Robinson.
Robinson’s ex sister in law may be one of her biggest critics.
“Every time she gets divorced, she gets cancer, and they do fundraisers and she walks away with the money,” said Lara Walker, Robinson’s ex sister in law. “I am 100 percent sure she is cancer free.”
Walker claims she has nothing to gain from speaking out. She says she is doing so “to protect others from getting duped.”
“This is the third time. It’s time she gets exposed,” said Walker. “She’s evil. I told you, when she walks into a church, the holy water boils.”
Walker has her doubts about the dark coloring around Robinson’s eyes during her first interview with KHOU.
“It’s so obvious she had black make up around her eyes,” said Lara Walker. “Take a make-up remover wipe and ask her to wipe her eyes, and if nothing comes off, kudos to her.”
Robinson acknowledged that her eyes appeared different during her second interview with KHOU the following day.
She believes her ex sister in law and other critics are looking for reasons to bring her down.
“There’s been times my kids have said, mom did somebody punch you in the eye because I don’t get a lot of sleep. It’s an occurrence that comes along,” said Robinson. “I had been in the hospital for a couple of days. Everyone knows we don’t rest. I wasn’t feeling well.”
Robinson also defends her criminal record on charges of tampering with a government record in 2004.
She says she used poor judgment in helping a friend.
“She was trying to gain a job, and I had allowed her to use my college transcripts to gain a job,” said Robinson. “Me getting in trouble has nothing to do with being sick.”
KHOU asked if Robinson was comfortable showing her medical records and medications on camera.
“If the people throwing this benefit would like to see documentation, I’d be more than happy to show it to them. I don’t owe my ex sister in law anything,” said Robinson.
Robinson later texted a photo of an assortment of medications she says she takes for cancer, sleep, anxiety and headaches.
Her kids believe the public has no reason to question their mother.
“I’ve been there for my mom whenever she was getting her chemo done. I’ve been there for her recent radiations,” said 18-year-old son Alexander Robinson.
Robinson’s daughter also told KHOU that she witnessed her mother’s hair fall out during a previous battle with cancer.
Employees at Da Pub say they still stand behind Robinson 100 percent.
They’re moving forward with plans for their next benefit on June 28.