Mother upset daughter’s obit posted online without family’s permission
For Toni Bond, reading her daughter’s obituary conjures up both happiness and heartache. The proud and loving mother describes her 11-year-old daughter Keira as a bright light, who was full of tenacity and loved to wear #12 on the ice while playing ringette.
“Just over a year ago, completely unexpectedly, Keira was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer,” Bond said.
Cancer took Keira’s life before her 12th birthday. That was eight and a half months ago. Before she passed away, the young cancer patient started Keira’s Krusade, an effort to fundraise for kids suffering from cancer. The campaign has since raised about $66,000.
When Keira passed away, her family wrote her obituary and paid to publish it in a Winnipeg newspaper.
“As far as we knew, that was the only place it was to be posted,” Bond said.
But last week, after reading an article about a family who learned their child’s obituary was posted on a website called Afterlife without their permission, Bond searched her daughter’s name on the site.
To her surprise, Keira’s obituary was also there. She immediately asked for the company to remove it, which it quickly did.
“It was distressing to see it there. I didn’t expect to see it there,” Bond said. “Especially as I read further that there was opportunity to have financial gain.”
On its website, Afterlife describes itself as a one of North America’s largest databases for obituaries. It said it provides obituaries for free by categorizing obituaries already on the internet by city.
Users can buy and sell flowers or virtual candles for families. The website said the fees for lighting a candle are fees that go towards the development of their company.
While Bond is satisfied with how quickly the company removed her daughter’s obituary, she’s said she’s not satisfied with its response as to why it was posted in the first place, and what the company does with its funds.
“I would rather they pursue this in a compassionate and caring way, which is to say if they feel they wish to provide a service to families who have lost loved-ones, then they should be contacting those families for permission,” Bond said.
CTV News reached out to Afterlife. In an email response, the company said its CEO would contact CTV News in the near future. CTV News had not received a response before our deadline.
“This is not someone who’s at the end of their natural life. This is a young child,” Bond said.
“And I imagine anyone who’s unaware that their loved-one’s obituary is being posted elsewhere would have issue with it, but I think it’s doubly hard for us given that she’s so young and it was so unnatural and it’s so recent.”