I have a problem with a fake person requesting a fake search for a fake child with a fake disability who wants a fake item. I’m seriously wound up by it, and I have to work out how to ensure nobody gets a lie past us.
The LONG version…
Back in 2016, the internet did an amazing thing. I desperately needed to find some sippy cups for my son Ben, and after a random plea on Twitter, an avalanche of cups came our way. For this, I will be forever grateful.
Early 2017, with the help of my good friend Allan, we launched LittleBlueCup. A silly little project that would share the searches of desperate parents at wit’s end because their child needed an item that was lost, damaged or worn out through so much love.
We had a few really simple rules; the item must be needed by a child or adult with disabilities or additional needs, and the item must be basically worthless, and not available to just order online. Basically, for those parents on the edge of crisis, we wanted to see if we could offer a teeny lifeline. No money would change hands other than donations to help towards the costs, this wasn’t a shop, and we didn’t want to get involved with the finders sending the items on. We wanted it to be simple.
But it wasn’t. It was hard work, and full of problems, and although we had a load of successful searches, it all became too much for us to continue along that path. The project was mothballed, and I set off to teach myself how to build a basic website that could do most of the heavy lifting for me. Those who know me understand that with three children with disabilities, and my own physical and mental health struggles I don’t exactly have the time to learn something like this, but LittleBlueCup means a lot to me, and I wanted to see what I could do.
Along this new path, I made two new friends – Debs and Kylie – without whom I could not have relaunched the project. They helped solve problems, they took on loads of the work I was struggling with, and they have skills I will never have. Most of all though they kept me going when I was close to giving it all up, they told me to keep going when I wanted to give up, and along with Allan, and my amazing wife Mandy, I have these people to thank for LittleBlueCup roaring to life once more.
That’s all really positive, isn’t it! The thing is though, there is still a lot of work going on behind the scenes. This stuff is not automated, and the way the searches work if I just left it to people to write what they wanted and upload any old images it would just not work. The only reason LittleBlueCup works is because of our amazing followers. But you all only stick around because you get to see the whole story and are not left with more questions than before you started reading the Search.
One of the reasons I got so worn down by LittleBlueCup the first time around is we had a few people who for reasons we will probably never understand used the project to ask for items for kids that never existed. The items were always of little to no value, that was not the issue. What frustrated us so much was that the kids we were being asked to help existed purely in someone’s imagination. In fact, appearing on LittleBlueCup was probably about as real as they ever got.
And if you follow where I’m going with this, if the kid is fake, that must mean the backstory is fake. And if the backstory is fake, and the kid is fake, that means there is no disability.
I adore my children, but they dominate my life. I wouldn’t be without them, and I spend every day fighting for them to try to give them the best life possible. Every parent of a disabled child will tell you they have to fight for everything, even things people without a disability might be able to access with no issues or effort. It isn’t fun, the fighting bit. And watching our kids struggle, miss out, get bullied, face blatant discrimination, it’s pretty tough to handle. I can’t speak for every parent, but I know how concerned I am for the future, and how my children will be so open to abuse and neglect by a failed system that does not have their best interests in mind. Saving money is the most important thing, their health and wellbeing come in at a distant second place.
So to know someone is pretending they have a child and that child is disabled so they can get some kind of kick out of a project I created inspired by an event involving my son…. I’m struggling with this. I don’t want to halt the project, but I refuse to let this stuff happen. Currently, I’m considering my options, and I might need to have a video chat with every person requesting a search. That is just crazy though, I don’t want people to think I don’t believe them!
You might think this is a one-off and I should just ignore it, but no it isn’t a one-off. So far out of the 22 Searches, I have in this mysterious system I created, 3 are fakes. That is not a ratio I am at all comfortable with. Those 22 Searches have all gone through a screening process where people are asked a series of questions to check they meet our pretty simple criteria. It can’t spot lying weirdos though.
Maybe I should have more compassion for people who are possibly mentally ill. But then is it ever ok to pretend you have a daughter undergoing the most horrible invasive treatment to try to cure her of the nastiest of childhood cancer? I struggle enough when ‘for fun’ they say their child is Autistic and has severe anxiety. My kids are all autistic. Trust me, most days the last thing I would describe autism as is fun.
I have struggled with anxiety and depression for much of my life, it has stopped me from getting jobs, going on holiday, getting medical treatment. It has ruined friendships, it makes it so painful to just go outside sometimes, or do something as simple as open a letter, or answer the phone. I have attempted suicide, and I regularly self-harm, all because of the stuff going on in my head, the anxiety and depression. So if you are offended by my lack of sympathy for someone trying to waste my time, and the precious time of my amazing friends, and trick, con, fool, scam, you all, my amazing Followers with a big fat capital ‘F’ – well you will just have to be offended, I’m sure you can get over it!
I’ve been struggling with how to deal with this. I don’t yet have an answer. I even lied to Debs, who posts the Searches on social media for me because I am so crap at social media stuff, I told Debs I was working on the search when I knew I was not going to get one ready because I was so wound up over this. Sorry, Debs. Currently, it is just the one person trying to get a Search past me, but there have been several. Allan and I used to track their trail of lies across the internet, warning other Facebook groups and sites to take down the stuff they were trying to get people to believe.
Look, fake people, especially the fake man pretending to be a woman, this stuff is just wrong. You know who you are. You need help, maybe, but mostly you need to stop. I’m not going to shut down the project, but you are causing a massive problem, and all the time I’m trying to avoid being conned by you I’m not able to help the children who so desperately need the help of this amazing community. Please just go away and stop with the lies.
My plan was to share the adventures of LittleBlueCup, I thought some of you might find it interesting. I didn’t intend to start the posts with something so horrible, but I wanted you all to know this stuff is going on. It is a big deal, and I have been really wound up by it. I would love it if the liar just vanished now, let me get on with sharing the stories of our REAL FRIENDS so our AMAZING FOLLOWERS can do what you all do best and get back to MAKING SMILES HAPPEN.
Best wishes to you all (except the liar of course!)