A California mother cheated on a medical formula for an 11-year-old with a rare disease amid a shortage

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — Keely Aguilar is spending her mornings and nights on her phone, her computer and all social media, doing everything she can to find the specific baby food she needs for her 11-year-old daughter Nataliyah.

Your daughter has an extraordinarily rare condition called Bainbridge-Roper Syndrome, which affects all aspects of her cognitive and developmental skills, including her digestive system. She cannot eat or process many of the common baby foods available at grocery stores. Because of this, Aguilar turned to Facebook and Instagram in hopes that others could help her find the specific formulas she needs.

But she fell victim to a scam.

“I’ve had some amazing people, mostly co-workers and friends, who have gone out of their way to place personal orders on Amazon, and I have a friend who’s getting it for us from Mexico right now,” Aguilar, a single mom and small business owner, told our Sister station in San Francisco, KGO-TV. “I’ve also contacted people who are scammers.”

RELATED: Dad puts 1,000 miles on his car to find special formula for preemie daughter

Aguilar said after her story was shared online, she received several messages from people wanting to help. Among them was a woman who offered to sell her baby formula for $250.

“I thought I was doing my due diligence by asking a lot of questions. I asked for pictures, I asked for expiry dates on the cans. She had all the right answers,” Aguilar explained. “And so I sent money and then her profile on Facebook disappeared.”

She did not receive the formula.

Since then, Aguilar believes she was contacted by others attempting a similar scam.

RELATED: Scammers ‘trick desperate parents’ into buying baby formula ‘that never arrives,’ FTC warns

“It’s shocking that people are exploiting this segment of our population,” she said. “These are the most vulnerable people we have out there and our families are already struggling every day so it’s definitely discouraging.”

The scam is just another setback for Aguilar, who has already spent thousands of dollars out of her own pocket to buy formula for Nataliyah, which is normally covered by her insurance. She said she feels lost and in limbo with the new emergency shipment of infant formula landing in the US this week.

“It was an absolute nightmare,” she said. “Until these formulas are back in stock with our delivery company and we can get regular deliveries again, we will see this through.”

KGO-TV reached out to a White House official and California Congressman Mike Thompson. Both said they shared Aguilar’s story with the Department of Health.

“Families across our country are feeling the weight of the baby food shortage, and it is heartbreaking to hear that parents like Santa Rosa resident Keely Aguilar are unable to find the formula her daughter needs to survive,” said Rep. Thompson in a statement. “I have checked with the Department of Health and Social Care to locate the formula Keely’s daughter needs and will continue to be in touch with administration regarding the recent Operation Fly Formula delivery.”

VIDEO: More than 75,000 pounds of baby food are ending up in the US amid shortages

But Aguilar is losing patience.

The formulas Nataliyah needs are Neocate Jr. or Puramino Jr. Both are not included in the emergency delivery.

According to the White House, Alfamino is also part of the delivery, which is considered a viable alternative. Aguilar said she was willing to try.

Either way, she sees the emergency ship as a band-aid for a bigger problem. Your long-term solution? Abbott’s closed infant formula factory reopens.

“Right now, we really need to get people committed to getting this facility open again,” she said. “And find out what our officials are going to do to ensure the formula gets into the hands of the people who really need it.”

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/baby-formula-scams-infant-shortage-scammed-for-medical-grade-facebook-scam/11888828/ A California mother cheated on a medical formula for an 11-year-old with a rare disease amid a shortage

Dais Johnston

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