It has come to our attention that a community member going by the name of Anna Johns is in fact a girl named Abbie who fabricated her story. Anna Johns has now been removed from the site.
She has posted a message to a Facebook group accusing her of being a fake to confirm this:
I am so sorry to those of you who have spent time talking to, supporting and crying for Anna and her family.
Personally I was taken in by this story too. But I would always rather be tricked because I am too trusting, than fail to support someone who genuinely needs it because I am not trusting enough.
***I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all NEVER to share personal details, send money or swap Facebook account details. I would suggest that you never even tell people your real name.***
The person who has done this deserves our sympathy. Munchausen's by internet is a recognised condition and I hope that Abbie gets the help she needs. You may find this article in the Guardian helpful to explain a little about the thinking behind something like this.
We take your security very seriously on this site, but there is very little that we could put in place to prevent someone who is determined enough to create an entire false life from joining the site. You can protect yourselves by not sharing your contact details, however sure you are that someone is real and needs your help.
You can offer plenty of support via the Community site, and also remain totally safe and secure.
Once again, I understand how much sadness, disappointment and anger there will be around this, but please do not let it distract you from the main purpose of the site which is supporting each other. You all do such a fantastic job and it would be so sad if something like this managed to ruin that.
Thank you Rebecca for printing the above. I have been totally gutted to find out that Anna was a fake, as someone who has lost all 3 children due to a terminal illness, it has been soul destroying to know that this was all fake, I felt like I was with her every step of the journey, and could put myself in her shoes. I cannot feel anything for anyone who can con people like it, and no excuse in the world can undue the hurt thats been done to so many. I hope justice will be done.
Thank you Rebecca
Unfortunately, I think alot of damage has been done to Macmillan and the other groups she used. People are posting on facebook that they will not use this site again as they dont know how to trust someone anymore.
I understand what you say re dont give out personal details but that aside, even chatting online with user names, it feels violating that someone was joining in and lying.
Yes, its very hard to stop Fakers but I think we should take sometime to look into possible ways of reducing this. All we need is an email address. Could there not be a way we should have to provide more details to Macmillan whilst still using a username on the community??
Im worried, like you, that people wont feel they can seek support here
I once wrote to the person we knew as Anna Johns the following I think it is fitting.
Just as a flame in the dark night attracts the moths, so it is that the beacon of generosity, warmth and comfort that comes from the genuine caring members of this site inevitably attracts, all who desperately yearn for friendship and attention.
Not quite sure who I am anymore. Charles
Thank you Rebecca,
I like so many others I was taken in totally by the Anna Johns story but I want to make just 2 points.
My regrets are not that I was fooled, it was the effect of that was to hurt the most caring and trustng people, the ones who opened their hearts, especially those with children who felt complete empathy for a parent with a very sick child.
The second point is I will continue to support others I believe need or want support and although I may get fooled or hurt again I would rather that happened to me than I turned my back on someone who may be genuine
The only good to come of this is that a lot of people are even more aware of the lack of funding for childhood cancer and maybe we need to build on this rather than feel everything was a waste and we can salvage some good
Love and hugs to all XX
Thank you Rebbeca
So sad that there are people out there that do this. I have made some very special friends on here and hope to continue to make more.
I want to trust what I read is the truth and support those people any way I can....I am a trusting person, I want to stay a trusting person. I need this community along with many others, how can we make it safe?
It infuriates me that these people play on others emotions and kindness.I cant believe this went on for 2yrs