(12/9/2003) There are few things in life more motivating than a plea to help a child in need. When we get one via e-mail, we try to be skeptical, but don't see any harm in passing it on "just in case." The irony is that, most often, chains that are started in the best of intentions end up having some of the worst side effects.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
This little guy needs all the prayers he can get. Please pray for him and pass it on. Note that his doctor is the one starting the prayer chain!
Grace and Peace,
Prayers are needed for Braedon Hembree and his Everyone with a please forward to as many people as are on your mailing list.
I, Dr. J. Matthew Durham, am writing to you now to I do not really know how to start a prayer chain, but we need a miracle. Braedon is just a 20-month-old baby boy in Clinton,South Carolina. A few weeks ago his parents took him to Lauren's Country Hospital with double pneumonia (both lungs).
The next night he was transferred to Greenville Memorial Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in critical condition. He is in a "coma like" state and on a respirator battling viral pneumonia. Braedon is only 20 months old and very weak. He is recognizing voices, as his heart rate goes up when they sing/talk to him, it especially got stronger when his big sister, Krista, talked with him. The doctor says this is good and this makes him think that Braedon's brain is doing fine. However, the doctors are perplexed by the type of viral pneumonia he is fighting. There is a hole in his lung that may require surgery.
turn for the worst. His blood pressure is extremely high, leading the doctors to think he is having has 18 chest tubes and lots of scar tissue building in his lungs. The right lung has no healthy tissue at all, but at this point he would not survive a lung transplant. He is still on life support and may be on it for a long time.
The family appreciates all your prayers and they continue to have lots of hope for improvement. I am told the family's faith is such that they are expecting a miracle soon. Be a part of that miracle. The power of prayer is great. I ask for your prayers on their behalf.
Please pray for Braedon's healing and for strength and comfort for his family. He is only 20 months old. I am asking you to send this letter, or copies of it, to everybody you can think of that will pray for Braedon. Please also take his name to your church and church groups and ask others to pray for his healing.
Many thanks and may God bless each one of you who cares enough to pray for a little boy's life. I am asking that each and every one of you please forward this on to everyone that you know. Please take time to do this right now.
God Bless You, PLEASE READ, PRAY, THEN FORWARD. EMERGENCY PRAYER REQUEST.
Dr. J. Matthew Durham
102 Ellis Ave.
Abbeville, SC 29620
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Braedon Hembree's story is true, but outdated. Braedon came out of his coma shortly after this prayer chain started in March, 2000. His sister told BreakTheChain.org that he celebrated his fifth birthday in March, 2003 and is a normal, healthy kindergartner.
Unfortunately, sick child chains letters often circulate long after the need for them has passed. As they do, they bring unnecessary (and often unwanted) attention to a child, family and associated parties who are struggling to get their lives back together after what was certainly a very difficult time in their lives.
Another side effect of this type of chain is "False Attribution Syndrome," wherein someone forwards the message thinking their is no harm in doing so, only to become mistakenly associated with it. Early versions of this letter included no mention of Dr. J. Matthew Durham, an Abbeville, S.C., chiropractor and physical therapist. Durham told BreakTheChain.org that he received the letter, cleaned it up and forwarded it on, not realizing the long term side effects those simple actions would have:
"A couple of years ago I got the e-mail and 'cleaned up' the forward info that was on it and without thinking about it forwarded it to about 10-12 people. The e-mail then looked like it originated with me! I have since met the little boy - who has fully recovered, praise God. But this e-mail just will not die. I can't tell you how many thousands of calls we get at the office. We had to install one of those new phone systems so we could weed out the Braeden callers without having to answer the phone 40 extra times per day. Things had really quieted down until around Christmas, but now it has all started over again. HELP!!!!"
When you think of a small child in a desperate situation, the urge is strong to react right away, but few consider the long-term consequences. Ultimately, you're more likely to help if you break this chain.