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Notre Dame

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Leukemia fundraiser ‘shell-shocked’ by Te’o girlfriend hoax

INDIANAPOLIS – A University of Notre Dame graduate who was inspired to raise money for cancer research by the reported death of linebacker Manti Te’o’s girlfriend says he’s “shell-shocked” to learn the woman didn’t exist.

Dan Tudesco set up an online account at fundraising website indiegogo.com on Jan. 9. His goal was to raise $5,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of Lennay Kekua.

Te’o said Kekua died of leukemia last fall. But online site Deadspin.com said Wednesday she didn’t exist, and Notre Dame officials and Te’o now say he was the victim of a hoax.

Tudesco said he wanted to turn Notre Dame’s national championship loss into a positive by raising money for the cause.

He said the more than $4,300 raised will still go to the leukemia group.

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