Alexandra (Ola) Kuczma Chain Letter
Netlore Archive: Email chain letter claims that 3 cents will be donated toward the medical care of 14-month-old burn victim Alexandra ('Ola' or 'Olenka') Kuczma each time the message is forwarded.
Description: Chain email
Circulating since: Aug 2005
Status: Mixed (see details below)
Email contributed by G. Amdur, Sep. 7, 2005:
Subject: Send where you can. THIS IS SO SAD :(
Alexandra came out of a rigging fire alive, but now has to fight for her life and a normal future.
She is 14 months old and she has burnt skin all over her body, damage facial bones (as a result of very high temperature). She does not have half of her face. She is in hospital in Cracow - Poland and one of the best specialist is looking after her. However she still has to go through many surgeries and then long rehab. Unfortunately her parents do not have any more money. Therefore we are asking for your help.
For each forwarded email her parents will get 3 cents. Please help them and forward that email to as many people as you can.
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Analysis: Sadly, this hoax is based on a real-life tragedy, a June 2005 house fire in southern Poland that destroyed the home of Peter and Anna Kuczma and left their 14-month-old daughter, Aleksandra ("Alexandra" or "Olenka" or "Ola") Kuczma seriously burned and fighting for her life in a hospital burn ward.
All available media coverage of the incident is in Polish, unfortunately, though it is briefly described in English on Filip Gralinski's "Chain Letter Gallery" website. When last I checked, Ola required more surgery but was on the road to recovery, and her parents had requested help from the public to meet the medical expenses. More information is available on the Polish TV website (but again, it's in Polish).
What qualifies the email as a hoax is the false claim that for every time it is forwarded or shared, Ola Kuczma's parents will automatically receive 3 cents (or some other amount). Impossible. Any number of "ailing child" charity hoaxes dating back to 1997 have employed this same fanciful premise, which is impracticable and based on nonexistent technology.
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Sources and further reading:
Ola Kuczma Chain Letter
Filip Gralinski's Chain Letter Gallery (Poland)
Telewizja Polska (Polish Television) website, 3 October 2005
Olenka Will Be Beautiful Once Again
Super Express (Polish newspaper, in Polish)
Last updated: 04/05/12