Photos of former UK basketball player's daughter used in social media hoax

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - They say they can't understand why someone would do it. A former UK basketball player and his fiancée say pictures of their five-year-old daughter are being used as part of a cruel Internet hoax. The pictures have shown up on both Facebook and Twitter.

Now that he's back from playing basketball in Ukraine, Erik Daniels is taking advantage of the nice weather, family time, and life. He formerly played for UK and in the NBA, but Daniels is now focusing on his five-year-old daughter, Eriyaune Daniels. Looking at her today, he says it's hard to believe how much she's changed.

"It was tough because I felt really helpless," said Erik Daniels. "There wasn't much I could do with me being so far away."

Just three months ago is when Eriyaune's book changed, and the family's life was flipped upside down.

"I couldn't go to the playroom at the hospital because my stomach and my neck was hurting and my head," said five-year-old Eriyaune.

One week before her 5th birthday back in December is when a neurosurgeon revealed the bad news.

"He says she has a brain tumor, and it was one of the hardest days of my life," said Aunye Butler, Erik Daniels' fiancée. "To hear that my four-year-old at the time had a brain tumor, and they would have to do surgery on her head."

Since the diagnosis, the family has received lots of support online, especially with Daniels being overseas.

"Everybody was sending out prayers for her, and it kind of kept me going and kept me positive," said Daniels.

But on Monday evening, the parents told WKYT's Jerrika Insco that within the last 24 hours, they've learned their little girl is being used in a social media hoax.

"You like this picture or you worship Satan is what it said," said Daniels. "And it was kind of disturbing to me."

"It says she has cancer, and she doesn't have cancer. She has a tumor. And she's alive and she's healthy," said Butler. "Why would somebody do that? She's five years old. She hasn't hurt anybody. We're going through enough."

Despite what's being said online, they want the world to know the truth.

"She's a fighter. She's a tough little girl," said Daniels. "Even with all the surgeries and poking, she really hasn't complained much."

"She's my miracle because she's had six head surgeries, and she's doing great, so I'm okay," said Butler.

Eriyaune and her family are jumping for joy that she will be okay. And she's now back in preschool full-time at Yates Elementary School in Lexington. Eriyaune's family tells us she will have her next MRI done at the end of May. Her doctors at Kentucky Children's Hospital say only 10 percent of the benign tumor remains.