Claim: Christmas cards are requested for Jacob Hadcock, a four-year-old boy dying from leukemia.
MIXTURE OF TRUE, FALSE, AND OUTDATED INFORMATION:
TRUE: Jacob Hadcock, a four-year-old New York boy, has leukemia.
FALSE: Jacob is dying and will probably not live to see another Christmas after 2009.
OUTDATED: Well-wishers should send Christmas cards to Jacob.
Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, December 2009]
Jacob Hadcock, who lives in Mexico, New York, is a small boy who is dying from cancer and may not make it through the end of this year! Walmart sponsors Polar Express and his name was given for a Christmas wish. All he asked for is a lot of different Christmas Cards from a lot of different families. He is trying to beat the world's record.
Jacob is a 5 year old boy terminally ill with cancer. The one thing he wanted was to get LOTS of Christmas cards. Pray for strength and healing. Please send cards to:
127 North Street
Mexico, New York 13114
Origins: This Internet-circulated appeal for Christmas cards for a child stricken with cancer began its online life in December 2009.
Jacob Hadcock is a real 4-year-old boy who lives in Mexico, a small town in New York state, and he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in September 2008. (Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a "liquid" cancer of the blood that starts in bone marrow and quickly spreads to the bloodstream.) A benefit to help with medical expenses not covered by insurance and travel expenses was held for him in November 2008 at the American Legion in nearby Cicero, New York, and another such benefit will be held there on 20 December 2009:
A benefit for Jacob Hadcock of Mexico, N.Y., who has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and faces 3½ years of chemotherapy treatments, will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Cicero American Legion, 5575 Legionnaire Drive, behind the post office on state Route 31.
Money raised will help cover medical and travel expenses.
Jacob recently rode the Polar Express and confided in Santa that his one wish for Christmas is to receive a lot of Christmas cards.
However, while the child and his affliction are real, the severity of his illness as reported in the circulated e-mail plea for Christmas cards is not, and Jacob's parents have since asked that no more cards be sent to him:
Amie and Ron Hadcock say they don't know who wrote the e-mail or how anyone got the idea that Jacob is terminally ill. The parents say their son is being treated for leukemia but is doing fine.
"Jacob does have leukemia," said his mother, Amie Hadcock.
"But he's going through treatment, and he's doing great. He's a healthy boy, and he goes to preschool."
"What bothers me is the false information," said Jacob's father, Ron Hadcock. "We don't want anyone sending cards on false pretenses."
The loads of mail — more than 25,000 cards — are overwhelming the Hadcock family. While the family appreciates the support for Jacob, they do not wish to receive any more cards. "The cards are a wonderful thing, but we would rather everyone keep Jacob in their thoughts and prayers," Amie Hadcock said.
And even though Jacob loves opening and looking at all his cards, stopping them now will not hurt his feelings, mom says. "We have enough cards put away that we can give him some every day to open," she said. There are enough cards to last through Christmas.
Last updated: 17 December 2009
Groom, Debra. "Internet Rumor About Ill Mexico Boy Snowballs into Avalanche."
The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 17 December 2009.
Leo, Tom. "Fundraiser Sunday Helps Mexico Boy with Leukemia."
The [Syracuse] Post-Standard. 13 November 2008.
Associated Press. "False Rumor Starts Flood of Cards for NY Boy, 4."
17 December 2009.
The [Utica] Observer-Dispatch. "Community News for Dec. 16, 2009."
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