We’ve all done it; pass on a funny post featuring the face of a complete stranger. But this time, it’s no laughing matter.
In the past few weeks, a picture of a young girl has quickly become one of the most popular memes on social media. The premise of the joke is that the child in the picture looks much older than her age and bears a resemblance to Shirley Brown from the R&B classic Woman to Woman.
— Jymon. (@wowjymon) June 1, 2015
A heavily-circulated post on a website called Fameolous.com speculated that the child in the picture may actually be nine-year-old Casey Bardowell. Bardowell is battling cancer and has been on the brink of homelessness several times due to medical bills.
Watch a full report on Bardowell’s condition below:
A support website in Casey’s honor says the reports that she is the baby in the “hurtful memes” are not true.
This still, however, brings up a valid lesson for all of us. There are real people behind those memes we so gleefully repost for all of our friends — real people with real feelings.
Earlier this year, Kyra Pringle made news when she publicly declared “My baby is not a monster!” and implored people to stop using pictures of her daughter, Mariah Anderson, in their mean-spirited posts.
Like Casey, Mariah is ill — born with Chromosome Two Duplication Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that impairs both her learning and motor skills.
Maybe we should all just think twice before sharing another picture of someone’s child.