GYPSUM, Colo. (CBS4) – A Colorado mountain community rallied around a dying child with leukemia only to find out the whole thing was a hoax, and the woman who made up the story probably won’t face any charges.
So many people fell for the story and tried to help the little boy who didn’t even exist.
The story goes that the 9-year-old boy moved with his family to the high country for his final days. He became a huge fan of the Eagle Valley High School football team, which was already having a stellar season. This weekend it was found out the story was all made up, but still nobody knows why.
His name was Alex, but in reality, the picture of the boy is from a children’s cancer charity, and the boy is very much alive in South Africa. But Alex’s made-up story spread quickly through the Internet and around the Eagle Valley community.
“I think it’s messed up. I don’t know why anyone would do that,” a student said.
On Oct. 26 players donned orange socks and orange balloons were released at halftime in support of the fight against Leukemia.
“That’s definitely a cool thing to have so many supporters come out for this whole ordeal,” another student said.
Everyone thought the boy had died the day before. The 22-year-old woman responsible for the whole fib even wrote a fake obituary. CBS4 went to the woman’s house, but a man said they had no comment.
It all played out in the pages of the community papers in Eagle County. Pam Boyd, an editor for the Eagle Valley Enterprise, told CBS4, “In the end, this is a sad story on so many levels. It started with the best of intentions — by telling a group of kids that they had inspired a little boy during his final days and it grew from there. I feel terrible that I ran a story that wasn’t true, but I am very proud of how the community stepped up to respond.”
“It was a good inspiration, but it’s also disappointing that it wasn’t real,” a student said. “Our principal came on the intercom and said, ‘It’s great to know you guys support the community.’ ”
Several law enforcement agencies said they’re working together, but the strangest part about the whole hoax is that it wasn’t for money, so as of right now there’s been no crime committed.