The family of a pregnant Ghanaian-born nurse in the UK who died with Covid-19 last year has still not received any money from a fundraiser set up for them following her death. 28-year-old Mary Agyapong died after giving birth in April 2020 at Luton and Dunstable Hospital, where she worked.
Rhoda Asiedu, a family friend, organized a GoFundMe page to support “Mary’s husband, and the couple’s children”. The page raised more than £186,000 ($256,000), which Asiedu’s lawyers say has been put into a trust fund. Agyapong’s husband Ernest Boateng told BBC he had not been involved in the process.
The father of two, who is studying law, said he is struggling financially and tries to keep his “head above the water.”
“I find it very surprising that we have not been asked or involved with this GoFundMe money – it’s beyond my understanding.”
The money raised was paid to Asiedu’s legal team, Blue Trinity. The law firm said the money had been placed “on trust” for the education of Agyapong’s children and that 80 percent would be released when they turned 21. It added that the remaining 20 percent would be given to Agyapong’s widower Boateng for “maintenance and upkeep” of the children, however, he had “failed to co-operate with the trustees to arrange a schedule of maintenance.”
Wendy Addai, who is part of the fundraising team, said the group did not anticipate raising such a large sum of money. “So we went to seek advice from a lawyer, who was finalizing agreements with Ernest’s lawyers,” she told BBC. “In regards to GoFundMe themselves they requested updates and proof with what was being done with the money but that was as far as their involvement went. Our intentions were and will always remain good and for the interest of Mary’s babies.”
In a statement sent to the Standard, GoFundMe said: “The money raised in memory of Mary Agyapong is in a registered trust fund.
“The organiser has been clear about this intention, and has updated donors on the purpose of the trust fund. The trust fund is managed by Blue Trinity.”
But the BBC said it found an archived snapshot of the webpage on April 16 with no reference to a trust at all. Asiedu has since published an update on the GoFundMe page, which indicates that she and Agyapong’s brother, Charles Owusu Boachi Agyepong, were the trustees of the fund, the Standard said.