ZDDK / Mimikama.at had the lucky chance to have an interview with family Ettore. After a long investigation we found out, whom it is on the photo and got in contact with the family Ettore.
ZDDK INFO: The Ettore family comes from California (USA) and is the family, who adopted Samuel, when he was a baby child. Samuel again is known on Facebook as „The baby with cancer“ and many users still share this photo believing that Facebook would donate money for a cure.
ZDDK: The picture showing your son is very oft shared among the internet. Do you know approximately the time, when this picture was published the first time on Facebook?
Hope Ettore: This photo first hit FB January 2012. However, our understanding is that it has been circulating the internet since 2007. I have found it on websites around the world and have been successful in having them removed from sites in Saudi Arabia, Norway, Sri Lanka, USA, etc.
ZDDK: As you are not the releaser of the picture, do you know, who was the releaser?
Hope Ettore: The releaser had to be someone at his orphanage in Vietnam, as we (his parents) did not even have possession of this photo. The photo was taken at the orphanage.
ZDDK: The title of the picture often says, the baby had cancer. . In short words for our readers: Is it the truth, that Samuel never had cancer (like the text on Facebook pretends), but it was a hemangioma?
Hope Ettore: Samuel never had cancer. The tumor was a vascular tumor called an hemangioma. He has had several facial reconstructive surgeries and now is also having laser resurfacing treatments.
ZDDK: Just as we hope that he is well today … what is is current state of health and how old is Samuel now?
Hope Ettore: Samuel is now 9 and he is doing very, very well. He has a wonderful personality and he is doing well in school. All of his teachers love him and he makes us laugh every day.
ZDDK: What is your opinion about the method, that the picture is still shared by unknown people, writing the untruth as its description?
Hope Ettore: This whole experience has been extremely stressful and painful. To not have control over something involving your own child is very distressing and makes you feel powerless. It was especially upsetting to see FB pages just using him to get „likes“ and „shares“ for their dumb (and often vile) pages. Also, some of the comments people make about the photo are insensitive or just rude. It was also infuriating that after months and months of pleading, Facebook refused to do anything to intervene and get the photos removed, when we know they absolutely have the power and ability to do so.
ZDDK: We are very sorry for that. Does Samuel know, that a picture of him is shared on Facebook all around the world?
Hope Ettore: Since Samuel was only 7 when this first hit, he honestly had a hard time fully understanding what it was all about. He knew he was on the television news and in the newspaper and what it was about, but to try to explain to him why these people were doing this was virtually impossible because it is all so senseless and bizarre.
ZDDK: This is completely understandable and we hope, that we can also appeal to the good sense of our readers. A last statement: We like to give you the possibility to tell the Facebookusers, what you think about sharing this picture. What did you ever wanted to tell those sharers?
Hope Ettore: If people just stop a minute and use their brains–I mean, really: Do you think that Facebook is ACTUALLY giving money to sick children for „likes“ and „shares“? Does that really make sense??? People often think, „Well, what could it hurt?“ I will tell you what/who it hurts: the child and his family who are the victims of this craziness. Behind every photo of a sick child, there is a story and a family who are very distressed at having to just sit back and watch while their child is used for other people’s amusement. I think people need to practice „responsible social networking“ and do some research before they share ANYTHING. I don’t share ANYTHING without researching it first!!!
It’s been a little over 2 years and the photo is still out there on FB. After about 6 months of losing sleep and fighting this day and night, we had to give up the fight. We hired an attorney to compel FB to take the photos down, but he told us that FB would bankrupt us in court. So, we gave up. It’s hard to make sense of it all.
But I suppose the most important thing is that Samuel is healthy, and happy and doesn’t have cancer. He is in a family that loves him and he is thriving.
Thanks so much for helping us. Sincerely, Hope Ettore and Family
ZDDK / Mimikama.at would like to thank you very, very much for this interview and we are sending you best wishes, health and luck for your future!
Ramona Mother Fights Online Exploitation of Child
Hope Ettore says a photo of her son has been used without her permission on Facebook.com