Message claims that, if you forward the email to others, 10 cents will be donated to help pay medical expenses for a sick baby named Alicia Bosh.
Subject: Please help Alicia BoshPlease help this girl (she is only 4 1/2 months) and she is very sick, and by forwarding this email to all your contacts, you will help her by contributing 10 cts for her operation.Thank you.
This email claims that you can help pay for a sick child’s medical expenses simply by forwarding the message to others. According to the message, baby Alicia Bosh will receive 10 cents towards the cost of an operation every time you send the email onwards.
However, any claim that money will be donated simply for forwarding an email is absurd. Such claims have been a key feature of a number of other widely circulated hoax emails. The message does not give any details about who is supposedly donating the money. Apparently, we are expected to believe that the money will somehow appear by magic every time we hit the “Forward” button. No legitimate company or charitable organization would base a fundraising campaign on how many times a particular email was forwarded. Moreover, there is no reliable or ethical method of tracking such an email, and therefore no way of accurately calculating how much money was to be donated.
It appears that the email may be a garbled version of a prayer request message for a South African child with a serious medical condition. According to a September 2006 post (In Afrikaans) on the Fanaties vir Jesus forums, 4 and half month old Alicia Bosh was receiving treatment for a heart condition in Baragwana Hospital, Johannesburg. The message notes that Alicia required expensive ongoing treatment for her illness and asks recipients to pray for the child. It also includes a contact number for Alicia’s mother.
Apparently, someone has removed these contact details and tacked on the totally bogus claim that money will be donated to Alicia just for sending on the email. Such email mutations are not unprecedented. A 2005 email that claimed that money would be donated to help a badly burned Polish child when the message was forwarded began life as a genuine request for direct donations.
At this point, I have no information about the accuracy of the original message or Alicia’s current health. I am conducting further research, and will update this article if I unearth more information on the case.
Regardless of Alicia’s current situation however, you can rest assured that forwarding this foolish email will do her no good whatsoever.
Last updated: 16th March 2007
First published: 16th March 2007
By Brett M. Christensen
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