The 13-year-old Long Island teen with leukemia who was ripped from his mother’s arms by Child Protective Services and forced to undergo chemotherapy has issued a heartbreaking video plea to be released.
“This is Nick Gundersen reporting from Winthrop Hospital where they’re keeping me hostage,” the teen says in the video.
“I’m very mad because this is supposed to be outpatient and I don’t have cancer so there’s no need for chemotherapy, but they think that I do have cancer which is false. I really need to get out of here because it’s causing me a lot of stress and I can’t deal with it anymore,” he continues, breaking into tears.
Gundersen was diagnosed with leukemia in June, and the youngster spent his summer enduring grueling rounds of chemotherapy before doctors at NYU Winthrop on Long Island deemed the cancer in remission.
And so his mom, Candace Gundersen, decided to take her son to Florida for “preventative nontoxic therapy” that would not wreak havoc on his body the way chemo did.
But while there, Child Protective Services ordered her to bring Nick back to New York for chemo or face arrest. She complied, and CPS forced Nick to go back to NYU Winthrop while wearing a wrist monitor to make sure he cannot leave.
“I’m getting hurt more here than anywhere else, this place is not OK for me to be. I don’t need to be in any hospital,” he pleads through tears in the video.
CPS made a move to put Nick in foster care during a hearing in Suffolk Family Court Wednesday, but Candace is returning to court Friday to fight the scheme.
Nick’s court-appointed lawyer said Wednesday he is inconsolable without his mother.
“He wants to be with his mom,” law guardian Mary Toner told Suffolk County Judge Matthew Hughes. “He expressed that over and over again. He said that she helps him in every aspect. She knows how to resolve any discomfort that he’s in.”
Candace has already offered to relinquish authority over how Nick is treated if only the state-run CPS would let her son come home — but the agency has declined the settlement offer.
“They have a vendetta against me,” the mom said outside court Wednesday.
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