This story was first published on September 8th, 2011
According to a message that regularly resurfaces on Facebook, seven year old cancer patient Amy Bruce will soon die if her family does not receive help to pay for medical expenses.
But help is at hand, claims the message, because the Make-A-Wish Foundation has agreed to donate £7 each and every time that the message is sent on. Supposedly, all the recipient need do to help poor little Amy is simply repost the message.
An example of the hoax message:
However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. Sending on the message will not help a sick child in any way whatsoever. And the Make-A-Wish Foundation will certainly not donate money to anyone based on how many times a ridiculous message is reposted. In fact, the message is nothing more than a Facebook flavoured variant of a hoax that has circulated via email since way back in 1999.
In the original, email version (included below) Amy was supposedly to receive 7 cents per message not 7 pounds as claimed in the social media version:
Hi, my name is Amy Bruce.
I am 7 years old, and I have severe lung cancer.
I also have a large tumor in my brain, from repeated beatings. Doctors say I will die soon if! this isn’t fixed, and my family can’t pay the bills. The Make A Wish Foundation, has agreed to donate 7 cents for every time this message is sent on.
For those of you who send this along, I thank you so much, but for those who don’t send it, what goes around comes around. Have a Heart, please send this.
Please, if you are a kind person, send this on.
PLEASE HIT FORWARD BUTTON NOT REPLY BUTTON.
The original message was just as much a hoax as the current Facebook version. There is no evidence that the “Amy Bruce” featured in the hoax message ever existed. Moreover, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has denied any involvement in such an absurd fundraising scheme.
And it seems that, along with her other medical woes, the hapless Amy is stuck in perpetual childhood. She has now been seven years old for well over a decade, it seems.
There is an entire, sorry series of “money for forwarding” hoaxes that have circulated in various formats for many years. In short, any message in any format that claims that money will be donated in exchange for forwarding or reposting is certain to be a hoax. The very concept is illogical and absurd in the extreme. No sane entity is ever likely to participate in a scheme in which an amount to be donated is dependent on how many times a message is forwarded or reposted. Moreover, these messages do not specify time frames or impose any sorts of limits on the supposed largess of the donating entity. If the scheme was real, after millions of repostings over many years, young Amy would now be very wealthy (and the Foundation would be resoundingly broke).
Furthermore, even if such a resoundingly foolish fundraising scheme was to be initiated, there would simply be no reliable or ethical way of tracking how many times a message was sent and, therefore, how much money was to be donated. The implementation of any form of reliable message tracking system is even more vastly improbable on Facebook than it is for email.
Such charity hoaxes are especially reprehensible. They waste the precious time and resources of charitable organisations such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation who must answer endless enquiries from members of the public about non-existent sick children. They make it less likely that people will support genuine charity fundraising activities. And they clutter our social networks with even more utterly useless garbage.
If you receive one of these fake money for forwarding charity requests, please do not repost it. And please help to stop its spread by informing the original poster that the message is a hoax. The hoax message poses the question “how can we refuse to pass this along?” I would suggest that anyone who employs a little logic and common sense will “refuse to pass it along” because they will quickly realize that the claims in the message are absurd. And, passing on such nonsense is likely to make you appear foolish and naive to at least some of your Facebook friends.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!