An e-mail claiming to be raising money to save a kid dying of brain cancer claims you don’t have a heart if you delete the message (no doubt it will have been stolen by a rampaging band of kidney thieves looking to branch out into new markets).
A later version, captured in December, includes a particularly effective tear-jerking narrative.
Both versions, like all e-mails that claim to give people money (or M&Ms, or Gap gift certificates) is bogus.
Here’s the original e-mail:
Date Captured: 3/27/2002
IF YOU DELETE THIS U SERIOUSLY DONT HAVE A HEART!!!!!!!!!!!
HI, I AM A 29 YEAR OLD FATHER. ME AND MY WIFE HAVE HAD A WONDERFUL LIFE TOGETHER. GOD BLESSED US WITH A CHILD TOO.
OUR DAUGHTERS NAME IS RACHEL, AND SHE IS 10 YEARS OLD. NOT LONG AGO DID THE DOCTORS DETECT BRAIN CANCER IN HER LITTLE BODY. THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SAVE HER. AN OPERATION, SADLY, WE DONT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY THE PRICE.
AOL AND ZDNET HAVE AGREED TO HELP US. THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN HELP US IS THIS WAY, I SEND THIS EMAIL TO YOU AND YOU SEND IT TO OTHER PEOPLE AOL WILL TRACK THIS EMAIL AND COUNT HOW MANY PEOPLE GET IT. EVERY PERSON THAT OPENS THIS EMAIL AND SENDS IT TO AT LEAST 3 PEOPLE WILL GIVE US 32 CENTS. PLEASE HELP US.
And here’s a variant that includes a tear-jerking narrative for extra effect:
Date Captured: 12/9/2002
Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.
Just for this afternoon, I won’t worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won’t stand over you trying to fix them. Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald’s and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.
Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.
Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children’s graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can’t handle it anymore.
And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day…
Hi. I am a 29 year old father. Me and my wife have had a wonderful life
together. God blessed us with a child too. Our daughter’s name is Rachel,
and she is 10 years old. Not long ago did the doctors detect brain cancer
in her little body. There is only one way to save her and that is an
Sadly we don’t have the money for the operation.
AOL and Zdnet have agreed to help us. The only way they can help is this: If you send this email to other people, AOL will track this email and count how many people get it. Every person that opens this email and sends it to at least 3 people will give us 32c.
Please help us.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again (and again, and again). E-mail tracking programs like the one described here do not exist. And no company anywhere is paying anyone to forward e-mail, not via Applebee’s Gift Certificates, and not to raise money for sick kids.
You’ll notice that if you go to both AOL and ZDNet’s web sites, there’s absoutely no mention of this program or effort, and I don’t think anyone honestly believes that a company would do something like this without trying to get a little press for themselves (like Ronald McDonald House).
Who started it? Why did they start it? I don’t know and I doubt we’ll ever know. I suppose it gives someone a thrill to see their creation constantly forwarded around the net, granting them a sort of spammly immortality. My advice is to deny the creator his or her satisfaction, and do not forward this e-mail.
You can find other debunkings at these sources:
- Urban Legends @ About.com: A little pop psychology on the thinking behind the people who created this and other “forward this e-mail” hoaxes.
- Snopes.com: An overview of the “sick kid” e-mail hoax genre.