Break the Chain Rachael Arlington
New Kid, Same Old Crap

Updated (4/11/2002) Ho hum. Young parents, sick kid, corporate sponsors, e-mail tracking, yada yada yada...

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.

GEORGE ARLINGTON.

Newer versions of this chain come in the form of a .jpg image or a Microsoft Word or PowerPoint attachment with an unrelated - yet emotion-provoking - photo of a baby. The erroneous subject of "Leukaemia" was also added (Leukaemia is a blood cancer, not brain cancer).

Subject: Leukaemia - Please read then Forward

If you delete this ... you seriously don't 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 daughter's name is Rachel, and she is 10 years old.

Not long ago the doctors detected brain cancer and in her little body. There is only one way to save her...an operation. Sadly, we don't 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 who opens this email and sends it to at least 3 people will give us 32 cents.

Please help us.

Sincerely

George Arlington

Awfully tiny for a 10 year old?

Some recipients of the later version must have noticed the curious combination of the photo of an infant with the story about a 10 year-old girl, so even later versions give the child's age as 10 months.

Is it possible to age backwards?

Another version romoves all the names, makes it a third-person request and couples it with a sappy poem.

TO MY CHILD:

Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.

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.............

* This was written by a 29 year old father who's just learned that his 10 year old daughter has a brain tumor. Sadly, they don't have the money to pay for the operation and they've asked for help. AOL is tracking this email and for every person who receives this email 32 cents will be donated towards her operation, now I know this sounds very unlikely, but let's just send it out on the belief that maybe just by sending this beautiful poem that we might be helping to save the life of a little girl who hasn't even started to live yet. We might be able to help her experience the little things that all of us take for granted such as falling in love, going to high school, seeing your friends everyday, etc. So please help out, and even if you don't believe that this will help then at least send it out because it's a touching poem.

The letter has also been translated into other languages (such as Spanish) and attributed to different authors. Some versions also tell you where the poor family is supposedly located, but their home nation varies from version to version.

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No matter which version of this hoax you've received, the formula is familiar and very tired. Hoaxes like this prey on our desire to help a child and the guilt we'd feel if it was really that easy and we didn't do it. In fact, we're told in later versions that we don't have a heart if we don't forward it on. Well, don't feel guilty - Nothing about this e-mail makes any sense.

AOL and ZDNET are not involved in any kind of fundraiser to save a kid. Given the global reach this letter has had, I would think one of these corporations would have stepped forward to take credit for it, but neither has. Even if they were involved, are we supposed to believe that an e-mail tracking scheme is "the only way they can help?" How bad would these multi-million dollar corporate giants look if they made a small donation contingent on some poorly written e-mail instead of just giving the money outright.

Of course, the most compelling argument against this chain is that e-mail tracking as it's described in this letter is impossible. Even AOL and ZDNET do not have the ability to know how many people you forward a message to. E-mail tracking is an old hoax designed to poke fun at naiive new e-mail users. Break this Chain!

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