Claim: Honey Starr, a mother suffering from Polycystic Kidney Disease, needs your donations for a kidney transplant.
Example:[Collected on the Internet, 2002]
My name is Honey and I have a story. It is not the saddest story, yet it's mine. I have been working since my father died when I was 13 years old. My mother worked 3 jobs so that my brother and I would not have to go on public
My father died from a genetic disease called Polycystic Kidneys. (http://www.pkdcure.org) This is when Cysts grow all over the kidneys and get so big that they overpower the kidneys until they cannot work anymore. All of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my father's side have died from this disease at the age of 42 and younger. I was told that my brother Jeff would die if I did not donate one of my kidneys to him. We were the only survivors of our family because of this terminal disease and I was his only hope. Unfortunately, that is how I found out that I also have Polycystic Kidney Disease and could not help him. He sadly passed away.
I have been working as a single parent holding down 2 jobs as a waitress. Within the last 3 weeks, I have had 2 operations and have another major operation in a month. My kidneys are so large they weigh over 40 pounds and must be removed because there is no room in my body for them. Once the operation is complete, I will have no kidneys and will have to live on dialysis, while waiting for a transplant. I can no longer waitress, as I have done all my life.
To have a deadly disease is difficult enough, but to know that I have passed it on to my only child, is an unbearable guilt. This is what my son has to look forward to shortly.
I have lived my whole life depending on myself and supporting my son. I never asked anyone for anything. In fact, if someone ever needed help from me I was always there financially and emotionally.
Unfortunately, I now have to ask for help. If you could spare any amount of money, even if only $5, it would make my life a little easier. At the very least it will help solve some financial problems so I can focus on my health. All I have now is hope. If you can help financially it would be most appreciated. If you cannot, then your prayers are more then enough. Thank you and God bless all.
For instructions on how to help honey, please email her at email@example.com
Type "Help" in the subject line.
*** This email is a request for a gift. It is NOT a commercial advertisement. This email is being sent with the hopes of raising funds to help defray the cost of medical bills, related healthcare fees, expenses incurred from this campaign, and improve Honey's quality of life. Gifts are entirely voluntary.
A third party on behalf of Honey Starr is sending this email. To be removed from our mailing list, email remove to Goamerica@btamail.net.cn
Origins: As if all "I need help; please send money" pleas distributed via forwarded e-mail weren't already suspect, this one adds some new dimensions to non-credibility:
It contains no identifying information (e.g., location, date, name of hospital) other than the name "Honey Starr."
It has been mailed out by "a third party of behalf of Honey Starr" through a service based in China.
The domain for the contact address given (x263.net) is also based in China.
Although Polycystic Kidney Disease is a real disease, advances in medical treatment mean it is no longer necessarily a "deadly" one. Even if a PKD sufferer reaches end-stage renal failure, dialysis and transplantation are viable treatment options, both of which are covered by Medicare.
Those who send e-mail to the address given in the original plea receive the following response:
I received your email and wanted to personally thank you for your response. I am overwelmed by your kind words and act of generocity. It is of great comfort to me and my family that there are compassionate people in the world that are willing to assist others during troubling
Words can not express my sincere gratitude for your act of kindness. I will certainly keep you updated on my condition as things progress.
To that end, my family is maintaining a list of people like yourself, so that we can keep you apprised of my condition as I undergo treatment. My prayers and thanks go out to you.
You can forward your generosity in the following manners:
The "following manners" are a list of options by which one can "donate" money to Honey Starr: Sending cash (or check or money order) to an address in an office building in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; wiring money to a bank in Boca Raton, Florida; or transferring money to a PayPal account. (We called the bank listed and alerted them to the "Honey Starr" plea; they are currently investigating its legitimacy.)
If one responds to Honey's plea with skepticism and asks for additional information, the following response is received:
I received your email and wanted to personally thank you for responding. After reading many of the emails I have received, including yours, I have learned that there are a lot of people who have been burned by "scams" on the internet and who have lost money to people pretending to be assisting people with real needs. I can assure you that my story is real. Everything in my email is unfortunately completely factual and has been documented by my numerous doctors.
After reading so many heartfelt messages, I understand why some people might be skeptical about an appeal for help. If you provide me a fax number, I would be happy to send you documentation regarding my health history. I realize that we have never met each other, but I must say it is comforting to know there are compassionate people in the world that are willing to assist others during troubling times.
If you can help, please let me know how to send you the necessary documentation of proof. If not, my prayers and thanks still go out to you.
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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