Example:   [Collected via e-mail, December 2009]
Origins: In December 2009 we began receiving queries about this text message, which was being forwarded from cell phone to cell phone, sometimes accompanied by a picture of a hospitalized infant nursing from a bottle while breathing oxygen through a hose. Although the entreaty most commonly circulated as a cell phone text message, our first sighting of it was in an October 2009 Twitter post.
It's the same old hoax it always is — there is no child in desperate need of a heart transplant that "the phone company" is assisting on a per-text-forwarded basis.
In September 2010 we began receiving an altered version of the same hoax, also spread by cell phone text message, which included a photo of an infant taken at an intensive care unit:
Typically, a large charity is named as the benefactor standing ready to direct monies towards the costs of medical care for the languishing child, but various
Everyone wants to help sick children get better, and the thought of a little boy or girl suffering from some dread disease or infirmity because people couldn't be bothered to forward a message tugs straight at the heartstrings. Problem is, hoaxsters know that, and they play upon these very human drives for their personal amusement. Once again, that is the case here: Well-intentioned forwarding does nothing towards helping a sick child; it does, however, make the day of some prankster.
If you want to make a difference in a sick child's life, the best way is still the old-fashioned one: donate your money or your time, not a worthless text message.
Barbara "send cash, not cache" Mikkelson
Last updated: 23 September 2010