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Teen Called Out For Using Gifted Money To Get Haircut Instead Of On Stepbrother’s Cancer Treatment

Little boy in hospital
FatCamera/Getty Images

Redditor KindConcert4788, a mere teenager, has been tasked with scrimping and saving to help afford her stepbrother’s cancer treatment.

The Original Poster’s (OP’s) stepbrother was diagnosed with cancer at the heartbreaking age of 2. The OP’s mom and stepdad were told he could receive better treatments abroad.

Because these treatments aren’t in the US, they have to pay out-of-pocket. They have been staunchly saving every penny since and have tasked their two other children with the same.

The OP was recently given some pocket money from her grandparents on her late father’s side.

Instead of giving it to her step-brother’s cancer fund, she splurged on a haircut and present for her best friend’s birthday.

When her mom and step-dad found out, they lost it on her, going as far as to call her a “selfish little b*tch”.

This pushed the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).

She asked:

“AITA for spending money my grandparents gave me instead of saving it toward my stepbrother’s treatment fund?“

She went on to tell her story.

“My mom got married to ‘Alan’ 2 years ago. I [15-year-old female] was 13 at the time and Alan’s two kids were ‘Emma’ [9-year-old female] and ‘Noah’ [3-year-old male].”

“Noah was diagnosed with cancer last year and my mom and her husband were told there’s some kind of different treatment he could get in another country and if they could raise the money…”

“…it would be better for Noah than the treatments available in the US. My mom and Alan could not afford it, so they have been sending him to treatment here and saving for Noah’s treatment.”

“They made a lot of cutbacks and asked that Emma and I give over any money we get so they can afford this. They have about 70% or something now, and that has come from cutting out a lot.”

“We eat very basic meals, they canceled our internet, and we didn’t do anything for our birthdays or Christmas since the saving started.”

“Any money that comes into the house goes on essentials or the treatment fund.”

“My dad died nine years ago, and my paternal family stayed part of my life. They know what has been going on, and they have been buying me little treats and taking me out to eat when they can.”

“They also give me money every couple of weeks so I can have something if I ever need anything. I have been hiding that money because I know I would be told to give it up.”

“I carry it everywhere because Emma is the type to snoop and then tell her dad. She has asked me before why I don’t babysit to help make more money for her brother.”

“She would work if she could, but she’s only 11.”

“I spent some of the money from my grandparents over the weekend. I got my hair cut, and I bought my best friend a gift for her birthday. I also got some food and spent some time at my dad’s grave.”

“My mom noticed my haircut and asked where the money came from, and she realized I was lying when I said I had been with my grandparents…”

“…and they took me because I forgot they were out of town. So I told her they gave me some money to get some stuff done. She told me a haircut was not a need and how selfish I could be.”

“Alan heard her scolding me, and he jumped in and asked what the hell was wrong with me.”

“He told me this family has to pull together for Noah, and I am acting like I don’t care whether Noah gets this treatment or not. Of course, by the end of the day, Emma heard and freaked out.”

“But then my mom ran into my best friend’s mom a couple of days ago, and she told mom my gift to my best friend was so sweet and thoughtful.”

“I was sat down and yelled at for spending the money on not just me but on others.”

“Alan asked me how I could give the money for a gift that means nothing when it could have gone to save ‘my brother’s’ life.”

“I yelled back that it’s not my job to pay for Noah’s treatments, and I’m already sacrificing, but I refuse to go all out the way they want me to.”

“I told them the money came from my family, family who was nothing to them, and they need to let it go.”

“Alan called me a selfish little b*tch, and he told me I should be ashamed of my repulsive behavior. Now Emma keeps telling me I’m a bad person.”


Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided:


“Go live with your grandparents if you can. Pitch it as it’s a way to help them save money for Noah, and don’t ever go back.”

“I get being worried about your kid, but to starve the other kids of having a youth just to send him somewhere else. Do they not realize that this is just to send him there.”

“Not to mention the cost of the stay.” – COLGkenny

“NTA: This is not your responsibility. You haven’t even been in Noah’s life very long. I would definitely check with your grandparents and see if you could live with them.”

“If your stepfather is calling you a selfish little bitch for getting a haircut, then you should leave if you can. That’s not okay. You’re 15. ” – Rtarara

“NTA. The money from your grandparents was for you to spend on yourself. They know that your family has little money now and cannot treat you to anything.”

“I can understand your mother’s and stepfather’s reaction, though, as they are desperate to save the money.”

“I would discuss the matter with your grandparents; if this is a recurring issue, they would have to discuss it with your mother; you are in a rather weak position here.” – nordic_wolf_

“NTA. Please tell an adult you can trust everything that has been going on. Alternatively, show them this post.”

“Your mom and stepfather are verbally and emotionally abusing you. If they are preventing you from having necessities like haircuts, it could be argued that they are also neglecting you.”

“Also, it’s very likely that this ‘treatment in another country’ is a scam.”

“Speaking from personal experience, there are, unfortunately, a lot of quacks who prey on the desperate parents of sick children.”

“But honestly, there probably isn’t a point in telling them that because I doubt they will listen.”

“I had a brother with cancer, and it is incredibly hard on parents to watch their children suffer like that. But that doesn’t give your parents a free pass to abuse you.” – Roxalind


“‘Alan called me a selfish little b*tch’  A grown a** man calling a 15yo a little b*tch???? Wtf is wrong with him?” – madame_zola

“It’s 2024. How are you supposed to be doing your homework without access to the internet?”

“I mean, it’s one thing for an adult to decide to cut off their own internet to save money when they live by themselves. But it could be affecting your grades and your future college prospects.”

“Would your grandparents be open to you staying with them for a bit?”

“The way your mom and stepdad treat you is horrible and emotionally/verbally abusive.”

“Depending on how else they’ve cut back, they could be outright neglecting you.”

“Definitely NTA; I hope you find a way to be away from your toxic family.”

“Edited to add: yes, I know libraries exist, but depending on where you live, they can be tricky. There are 13 libraries in my city, one for each municipality. Most are closed on Sundays.”

“Only open a few hours on Saturday, afternoon. Open until 4 or 5 pm, which if the school goes to 3:15 (my high school went to 3:15). If you had to bus to the library, you don’t get much time.”

“I think my downtown branch is open to 7 on Tuesdays. But it’s not exactly sustainable as the main place to access the internet.”

“I think the hours change in the summer and are longer, but again, how does that help for high school homework?” – fragilemagnoliax

“NTA. You are a child, as is Emma, and they are doing both of you a huuuggggeee disservice by acting like you should give any money or gifts you receive to your (step) bother’s cancer fund.”

“It sounds like you both do that most of the time, and I truly understand the importance of the money being raised for Noah…”

“…but if your father’s parents gift you money, they should respect that it was given to you and that you are allowed to have wants and needs, too.”

“Are they going to expect you to forgo college, too, and give any money you receive for that to the cancer fund as well? When does it end? And what if this new treatment doesn’t work?”

“Your parents might wreck their entire relationship with you and your stepsister over this — sacrificing your needs and desire to been seen in lieu of your stepbrother.”

“I understand that they’re under a gigantic amount of stress, but you don’t deserve to be treated this way.”

“Maybe you can stay with your grandparents for a while (and tell your mother it’d be one less mouth to feed).” – fallingintopolkadots

The OP posted a bit of an update in a comment:

“I’m going to try and leave if I can do so easily. Going to talk to my grandparents tomorrow and see what happens from there.”

Best of luck, OP.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)