1. News & Issues
Send to a Friend via Email
Kayla Wightman Chain Letter
Netlore Archive:  Email hoax claims the Make-A-Wish Foundation will donate 7 cents toward paying the medical bills of Kayla Wightman, supposedly a 15-year-old dying of lung cancer, each time the message is forwarded

Description:  Email hoax
Circulating since:  Oct 2004 (this version)
Status:  False
Analysis:  See below

Email example contributed by an AOL user, 24 October 2004:

Subject: this is horrible

Hi my name is Kayla Wightman. I am 15 years old, and i have a sever lung cancer from second hand smoke. I also have a large tumor in my brain, from repeated beatings. Doctors say I will die soon if this isn't fixed, and my family can't pay the bills. The Make A Wish Foundation, has agreed to donate 7 cents everytime this message is sent on. For those of you who send this along , I thank you so much, but for those who don't send it, what goes around comes around.

Comments:  False. This hoax has been circulating since 1999, when the name of the child supposedly dying of lung cancer was given as "Amy Bruce." Several names have been substituted since then, the most recent of which, first sighted in October 2004, is "Kayla Wightman."

The Make-A-Wish Foundation has repeatedly stated that it does not participate in chain letter campaigns of any kind. From the Foundation's Web site:

Each day, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America and chapters receive hundreds of inquiries regarding chain letters claiming to be associated with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As a matter of policy, the Make-A-Wish Foundation does not conduct these types of wishes – including Internet and email requests.

Email This Article

Sources and further reading:

Make-A-Wish Foundation: Chain Letters
Official statement from the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Amy Bruce Chain Letter
Early variant of the same hoax

Jessica Mydek Chain Letter
1997-vintage email hoax upon which "Amy Bruce" and subsequent variants were based

Charity Hoaxes Tug Cynically at Heart Strings
Feature on "dying child" chain letter hoaxes

Last updated: 08/02/05

Current Netlore
The Urban Legends Top 25

Discuss in my forum

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.