HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The news of a Hanover County mother accused of falsely having cancer for years is unsettling to many people.
Hanover authorities have charged 42-year-old Martha Nicholas for making financial gains under the pretense she needed help paying for medical bills due to her cancer treatments.
The American Cancer Society said she did a good job faking the disease and one friend said now, she's angry.
For years, Natalie Ball followed her high school acquaintance Martha Nicholas through Facebook.
At least once a day, Ball would check in to see Nicholas's status update - if she's feeling better or worse.
But when Nicholas's Facebook account suddenly disappeared, Ball started pouring over the obituaries assuming the worst.
It wasn't until she watch NBC12's 11 PM newscast when she got her answer.
Nicholas was charged with 2 counts of misdemeanor obtaining money by false pretenses - faking cancer.
"I was completely shocked, I was dumbfounded I couldn't believe Martha of all people would do something like that to deceive so many people who care so much about her," said Ball.
Ball says she used to find comfort in the words Nicholas shared on Facebook.
"Martha shared some inspirational messages with me and to look back on that now that she wasn't actually going through what she said she was going through is very upsetting, it makes you second guess everything," said Ball.
The American Cancer Society said Nicholas was very well versed about the treatments and the disease. Director Patti Jackson said Nicholas claimed she had ovarian cancer and leukemia, twice.
"She said she had survived it each time, I believe she said with this latest round it was precipitated by the treatment she had in her last cancer," said Jackson.
Sheriff's investigators say there is no evidence of any cancer treatment at any medical facility. Our attempt to get Martha's side of the story went unanswered.
"It's very upsetting and makes me very angry that somebody would take something like this to gain whatever, financially or attention and to put her children through that I'm sorry it's very upsetting," said Ball.