Do You Wanna Dance?
Date Added: Dec. 13, 2002
Some of the most pervasive e-mail hoaxes are ones about sick and/or dying children. We all want to help children, especially when cancer is involved. When help seems as easy as forwarding an e-mail, our conscience often trumps common sense.
This is not a joke or chain letter as such but a beautiful poem, and a lesson for us to consider.
This poem was written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital. It was sent by a medical doctor - Dr. Yeou Cheng Ma. Please do what you can to help fulfill this young girl's dream by also reading what is in the closing statement AFTER THE POEM.
Have you ever watched kids
Do you run through each day
Ever told your child,
When you run so fast to get somewhere
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO HELP THIS LITTLE GIRL. ALL FORWARDED E-MAILS ARE TRACKED TO OBTAIN THE TOTAL COUNT.
PLEASE pass this mail on to everybody you know. It is the request of a special little girl who will soon leave this world as she has cancer.
Thank you for your effort, this isn't a chain letter, but a choice for all of us to save a little girl that's dying of a serious and fatal form of cancer.
Please send this to everyone you know... or don't know. This little girl has 6 months left to live, and as her dying wish, she wanted to send a letter telling everyone to live their life to the fullest, since she never will.
She'll never make it to prom, graduate from high school, or get married and have a family of her own. By you sending this to as many people as possible, you can give her and her family a little hope, because with every name that this is sent to, The American Cancer Society will donate 3 cents per name to her treatment and recovery plan. One guy sent this to 500 people!!!!
So I know that we can send it to at least 5 or 6. Just think it could be you one day. It's not even your money, just your time!!! "PLEASE PASS ON AS A LAST REQUEST"
Dr. Dennis Shields, Professor
Rule of thumb: Any e-mail message that starts out by telling you that it isn't a chain letter most likely is! This one's been around in one form or another since 1997, creating an interesting snapshot of the life of a hoax. In its original form, it told the story of Jessica Mydeck, who supposedly had a terrible form of brain cancer. Since the letter claimed she only has 6 months to live, her name was probably removed from future texts to keep it from being identified as outdated (or as the hoax it is).
The poem was written by David L. Weatherford and published in 1991 by the Russ Berrie Company. It was added to the chain letter in early 2001. Weatherford is uncertain how the poem came to be associated with the dying child hoax and does not endorse its inclusion. Heart-warming and inspirational, it lowers our defenses and make us less skeptical of the rest of the message. Other versions of this "dying kid" chain letter feature an ASCII-Text "Elmo" or other feel-good messages instead of the poem.
Dr. Shields' involvement with this letter is a case of False Attribution Syndrome. He has nothing to do with this hoax other than the fact that he forwarded the message and automatically attached his "signature" to it. In a 2001 statement on their web site, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine denied Dr. Shields' involvement with the hoax and asked you to delete it and help stop its spread.
The message implies that the American Cancer Society is tracking forwards of the message, but the ACS denies any involvement with this or any other e-mail scheme to provide help to a needy child. Besides, E-mail tracking as it is described in the letter is technologically impossible.
Most of us would love to help the fight against cancer, especially if it were as easy of forwarding an e-mail message. Bottom line, the fight for cancer takes money. The American Cancer Society doesn't make donations, they collect them - your donations and mine. Hoaxes like this one hurt organizations like ACS because they force them to divert valuable time, personnel, and resources to respond to the lies. Break this Chain!
References: ACS Statement, Dobhran's Inspire