A Little Girl Dying Hoax

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Can’t do 500 but its a start

Earlier this year a number of people, perhaps even you, received an email with this heading. It stated:

’Something to think about ....

Slow Dance

Following is a remarkable writing for someone so young...however, her situation brings great insight that we can all learn from. Very moving. This poem, written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital. It was sent by a medical doctor - Dr. Yeou Cheng Ma. Please do what you can to help fulfil this young girl’s dream by also reading what is in the closing statement AFTER THE POEM.


Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask
"How are you?"
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say "Hi"?
You’d better slow down.
Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won’t last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

All forwarded emails are tracked to obtain the total count. PLEASE pass this mail on to everybody you know. It is the request of a special little girl who will soon leave this world as she has 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 letter telling everyone to live their life to the 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. Just think it could be you one day. It’s not even your money, just your time!!! "Please pass on as a last request."

Dr. Dennis Shields,
Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
1300 Morris Park Avenue
Bronx, New York 10461’


This is a very emotionally charged email - guaranteed to tug at the heart strings - particularly of women, and especially of mothers. Unfortunately it is all untrue!

It is one of the better known Internet sympathy hoaxes that is almost totally false. It has been forwarded with various alterations for quite a number of years. In spite of the fact that the true story behind the hoax has been told on numerous websites, many people recycle it - especially caring and sympathetic people - including many Christians. That still does not make it true.

  1. It has been variously called: ’A little Girl Dying Hoax’ ’The Jessica Mydek Hoax’ ’The Tamara Martin Hoax’ ’The American Cancer Society 3c Hoax’ - and more.
  2. It has gone through numerous additions, alterations, and transformations since it commenced in January 1997.
  3. The hoax has used the name of Jessica Mydek, Tamara Martin and others, and has also been circulated with the ’little dying girl’ remaining unnamed.
  4. The little dying girl’s ’six months’ have long expired! Statements like: This little girl has 6 months left to live… are totally meaningless when no actual date is provided!
  5. Jessica, Tamara, or the unnamed dying little girl, has been dying of a wide variety of terminal or serious illness - and even suffered from conditions not to be found in any medical dictionaries! With all her complications she would not have survived ONE month, let alone six!
  6. Jessica, Tamara, or the unnamed dying little girl, has been dying in different hospitals, including unnamed hospitals in New York and Texas!
  7. And, NO! Jessica, Tamara, the unnamed dying little girl did NOT write the poem:’Slow Dance’. The poem was added to the email in November 1998. The poem has been circulating around the Internet independent of the ’dying little girl’ story since before November 1998 and can be found on many websites - especially New Age websites. Most list it as ’author unknown’.
  8. The hoax was given added weight, or authority in June 2000 with the claim that it was being circulated by a medical doctor - Dr. Yeou Cheng Ma - later the name of Dr Dennis Shields, from the Department of Developmental and Molecular and Biology, and the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, was added to the end of the email - giving it even a greater appearance of authenticity. For some time (but not anymore) Dr Shields had a page on the Internet with a statement distancing himself from the hoax. He stated: ’Unfortunately, this letter is a complete hoax; it has nothing to do with me, my Institution or the American Cancer Society. Several versions of this letter are now circulating, so please ignore all of them and DO NOT PASS IT ON.’
  9. In spite of technological advances, there is absolutely no way in which All forwarded emails are tracked to obtain the total count - this is vastly different to registering the number of hits/visits a website address (URL) receives. These CAN be monitored and counted (that’s why a lot of Websites have a counter showing the number of hits). Emails cannot be ’tracked’ across the Internet, nor can the number of copies be counted - externally to those sending them.
  10. The amount of money that will be raised has varied from 3 cents to 6 cents, to 7 cents and back to 3 cents. Money cannot be raised the way suggested (as stated already, emails can’t be tracked and counted the way suggested in the hoax) - this is different to advertisers agreeing to pay ’x’ cents for the number of people who click on to sites like the special Bible Society website and the Hunger Site website. Most versions of the hoax declare that the American Cancer Society has agreed to donate money - but other groups are also named, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation and a ’Valley Children’s Hospital’. Both the American Cancer Society and Make-A-Wish Foundation have stated that they do not support email chain letters - and that this email (in its various versions) is a hoax.
  11. Originally (and in several still circulating versions) it states clearly that ’the little girl’ wanted to start a ’chain letter’ - and that its IS a ’chain letter’. The version shown here (as do some others) categorically states: this isn’t a chain letter, but that’s exactly what it IS! Denying it doesn’t change the reality of what it is - a chain letter hoax, a fabrication - and as such it should be ignored and NOT passed on.

For further details on this hoax checkthe extensive article at the Snopes Urban Legends Reference Page: http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/children/mydek.htm

The Hoax Busters have a lengthy article giving brief overviews of quite a number of Sympathy Hoaxes (well worth reading): http://HoaxBusters.ciac.org/HBSympathy.shtml

Also check the American Cancer Society and Make-A-Wish Foundation statements on their websites:http://www.cancer.org/chain.html and http://www.cancer.org/letter.html and http://www.wish.org/home/chainletters.htm

(From TACL Vol 22 #2 March/April 2001)