(9/7/2001) In a world where crafty "help a sick child" hoaxes prey on Christian values and morality to make a large group of people look the fool, this chain sends up a flurry of warning flares. However, it is true, albeit quite out of date.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 21:53:52 -0500
Subject: PRAYER REQUEST
Prayer Request for Child in Amarillo, TX
Last Friday about 12:30 P.M. my three year old Granddaughter, Lauren Renee Pingel and her babysitter were on their way to do some shopping in a Ford Taurus. At an intersection North of Amarillo, around the River Road area, a large pickup with a Rhino Guard Bumper failed to yield right of way and ran a stop sign. The pickup hit the car. Lauren was buckled in her car seat in the middle of the back seat.
The pickup hit the side of the car about the middle. We are not sure what caused the terrible injury to Lauren. She had no broken bones or other injuries but severe head injuries. We have been told it was the Rhino Guard Bumper that hit her. She weighs about 25 lbs. She was rushed to Northwest Texas Hospital where they put the pieces of her little skull back together with metal pins and all the pieces were there. Some broken glass was also removed. A few hours later as her brain began to swell the doctors told son & daughter in law that if they did not perform a craniotomy she would die, and if they did perform it she still might die or surely not fully recover.
She was rushed into surgery again, and it was performed. She has improved some but very slowly. The first 72 hours were very difficult with several trips for CAT scans in hopes of seeing how the brain was reacting. We have now stopped worrying about the brain so much and are concentrating on the other vital organs. Her heartbeat is strong. Her lungs are filled with fluid, and they have diagnosed her with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Some of the tissue in her lungs has hardened. They are doing respiratory work every2 hours.
Her kidneys were not functioning properly but have improved. Her little face is swollen as tight as it can swell with both eyes swollen shut; it is also starting to bruise. It is so hard to see her lying there with all of the tubes. We have some great doctors and they have all been really good to talk to us and try to be compassionate. Her main doctor said today that we are maybe halfway through the worst part. (I can't imagine what will happen next.) BUT....he also said today that we were not taking inches anymore but maybe steps now.
We think she can hear us when we talk to her. I read her a book tonight and her blood pressure dropped 2 points (a good thing). I am taking a couple of her favorite books tomorrow to read to her. Please pray for Lauren and her doctors that she will have the strength to endure the treatment and her body will accept the medicines that they prescribe. Her doctors names are: Dr. Habersang - Pediatric ER Trauma Specialist, Dr.Levy - Pediatric ER Trauma Specialist, Dr. Ortiz - Resident with Dr. Levyand Habersang, and Dr. Steve Cone - Brain Surgeon. Also pray for the many excellent nurses and therapists that are working with her.
Name: Lauren Renee Pingel age 3 years
Brad and Suzanne Pingel - Parents
Jodi Rae Lynn Pingel 8 month old sister
Ron and Janace Ross Maternal Grand parents
JoAnn and Robert McCoy Paternal Grand parents.
I hope to have a prayer chain going around the world with the help of the internet. Her name has been given to a missionary in Africa and they are praying for her there. Please send this request to anyone you know that will pray for us and the healing of our precious baby girl
-Lauren JoAnn McCoy
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
The events above did happen, but "last friday" was actually December 15, 2000. As of late summer 2001, little Lauren is still on the mend and does need your prayers because she's not out of the woods yet. But there are some important facts to point out about this chain.
Being greatly out of date, this chain is quickly losing its value and could quickly turn against the family. The the Amarillo Globe News created a special web site where folks could get updates on her condition and make a donation to the Pingle family fund to help pay the medical bills. However, in response to the family's wishes for privacy, they stopped updating the page after Lauren was released from the hospital in June, 2001. At that time, Lauren was dependent on oxygen to breathe and a feeding tube to eat, but was becoming more alert.
The problem with chains like this one, regardless of how well-intentioned, is that they tend to make unwitting celebrities of their subjects. A relative, in a time of weakness, writes a plea to friends and family to pray for this young soul in need. Not understanding, or at least underestimating the reach and staying power, she hopes the letter will spread far and wide. What she didn't bargain for was that the exact same message would still be circulating 9 months later (and beyond) all over the world - each new recipient assuming from the language in the letter that these are recent events.
This letter has all the elements to circulate for a long time: There is no date, the plea is urgent and the description of her injuries is very disturbing. Now, when the family wants time and privacy to recover from this terrible tragedy, they are under a global microscope and must deal with thousands of people acting on outdated information. The desire to forward this message is strong, but for the family's sake, say a prayer for Lauren, then Break this Chain.