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Help Burned Baby Alexandra Email

Summary:
Email claims that recipients can help pay the medical bills of 14 month old Alexandra, who received horrific burns in a house fire, simply by forwarding the message (Full commentary below.)

Status:
Alexandra is a real child and she was badly burned. However, the claim that money will be donated when the email is forwarded is completely false.

Example:(Submitted, September 2005)
Dear All,

Alexandra came out of a rigging fire alive, but now has to fight for her life and a normal future.

She is 14 months old and she has burnt skin all over her body, damage facial bones (as a result of very high temperature). She does not have half of her face. She is in hospital in Cracow - Poland and one of the best specialist is looking after her. However she still has to go through many surgeries and then long rehab. Unfortunately her parents do not have any more money. Therefore we are asking for your help.

For each forwarded email her parents will get 3 cents. Please help them and forward that email to as many people as you can.

Ola Kuczma

Commentary:
The core information in this email forward is true. According to information from a Polish news source, in June 2005 14-month-old Ola Kuczma of Poland was seriously injured in a fire in her parent's wooden house. The baby's bed was engulfed in flames and her hair began to burn. Thankfully, her parents were able to rescue the child at the last minute and doctors in Cracow managed to save her life. At the time of writing (October 2005) Ola is apparently making progress, but will need further medical treatment. Full recovery and rehabilitation is likely to be a long process.

The email identifies the child as "Alexandra". "Ola" is simply a Polish diminutive form of the first name "Aleksandra".

While the case is real, the claim that "3 cents" will be donated each time the email is forwarded is pure nonsense. In other words, some heartless individual has turned a genuine tragedy into a pointless hoax email that will most probably continue to circulate for months or years to come. Forwarding the email will do nothing to help little Ola or her family.

According to Filip Gralinski of Galeria Listow-Lancuszkow, the original version of the email was quite legitimate and included a bank account number that recipients could use in order to donate money to Ola's parents. He explains that in subsequent versions of the email, the legitimate bank account information was deleted and replaced with the absurd claim that Ola's parents will get 3 grosz (about 1 US cent) for each copy of the e-mail forwarded. Some versions of the message claim that scripts included in the email allow the donation system to work. This is completely untrue.

The legitimate bank account number was also given on Polish television and is still available on the TV station's website. Those with a genuine interest in helping Ola's parents may still be able to offer assistance via the information on the television website. However, forwarding the email in its current form will not help Ola's parents.

Most news references to Ola's situation are in Polish. However, Filip Gralinski has included some information about Ola in English on his website. Filip Gralinski greatly assisted me during the research of this article by translating information about Ola into English so that I could understand it.

References:
Chirurg uratowal Oli zycie
Olenka znów bedzie sliczna
Polish Television website
Galeria Listow-Lancuszkow (Chain-Letter Gallery)
Information about Ola in Polish
Information about Ola in English

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen