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Jessica Mydek 'Dying Child' Chain Letter

Netlore Archive: Via forwarded email, instructions on how to help to save the life of Jessica Mydek, a dying child who doesn't exist.

Description: Email hoax
Circulating since: 1997
Status: False

Example:
Email text contributed by Barbara F., 1998:

JESSICA MYDEK IS SEVEN YEARS OLD AND IS SUFFERING FROM AN ACUTE AND VERY RARE CASE OF CEREBRAL CARCINOMA. THIS CONDITION CAUSES SEVERE MALIGNANT BRAIN TUMORS AND IS A TERMINAL ILLNESS. THE DOCTORS HAVE GIVEN HER SIX MONTHS TO LIVE. AS PART OF HER DYING WISH, SHE WANTED TO START A CHAIN LETTER TO INFORM PEOPLE OF THIS CONDITION AND TO SEND PEOPLE THE MESSAGE TO LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST AND ENJOY EVERY MOMENT, A CHANCE THAT SHE WILL NEVER HAVE.

FUTHERMORE, THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY AND SEVERAL CORPORATE SPONSORS HAVE AGREED TO DONATE THREE CENTS TOWARD CONTINUING CANCER RESEARCH FOR EVERY NEW PERSON THAT GETS FORWARDED THIS MESSAGE. PLEASE GIVE JESSICA AND ALL CANCER VICTIMS A CHANCE. ADD ACS@AOL.COM TO THE LIST OF PEOPLE THAT YOU SEND THIS TO SO THAT THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY WILL BE ABLE TO CALCULATE HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE GOTTEN THIS.

IF THERE ARE ANY QUESTIONS, SEND THEM TO THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY AT ACS@AOL.COM

Three cents for every person that receives this letter turns out to be a lot of money considering how many people will get this letter and how many people they, in turn, pass it on to. Please go ahead and forward it to whoever you know - it really doesn't take much to help out.


Analysis: So far as anyone knows, Jessica Mydek does not exist, and has never existed. The email address in the above message, acs@aol.com, does not belong to the American Cancer Society, nor does that organization endorse this or any other chain letter campaign (see their official statement).

Given that the message, as of this writing, has been circulating for over a year, little Jessica's "six months to live" would already up anyway.

Update: The Mydek hoax has spawned numerous mutations and copycats, among the most notorious of which are the Timothy Flyte, "Slow Dance" and Rachel Arlington chain letters. These and other "dying child" emails imitate the content and style of the Mydek letter so closely it's as if they were all composed using the same pre-designed template.

Also among the known Jessica Mydek mutations are a truncated version with an ASCII "Tickle Me Elmo" illustration, and the version below - a completely generic rendition wherein the "dying little girl" isn't even named:

PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO HELP THIS LITTLE GIRL

Dear All,

I just received this mail from a friend of mine in my College. Please respond to it. It will just mean employing a little bit of time and won't cost you a penny. All it needs is the heart for you to send this mail. PLEASE pass this mail on to everybody you know. It is the request of a little girl who will soon leave this world as she has been a victim of the terrible disease called 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 chain letter telling everyone to live their life to 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. Come on you guys.... and if you're too selfish to take 10-15 minutes scrolling this and forwarding it to EVERYONE, then you are one sick person. Just think it could be you one day. It's not even your money, just your time!!!

PLEASE PASS ON

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