One day, a proud mommy blogger named AliceAnn wrote an article that featured a photo of her four-year-old son, Jameson, posing for the camera. Little did she know that that same photo would reappear on the internet, but in a completely altered state. Over a year later, someone found the picture and turned it into a cruel internet meme mocking this innocent little boy and comparing him to a pug — which, sadly, received thousands of likes and shares.
Now, AliceAnn is fighting back with a post on her blog entitled, “This Is My Son Jameson, And No, You May Not Use His Photo.” This heartbroken mother of two thrust herself into the exhausting task of having to track down the people who shared her son’s photo and have it removed. Just when AliceAnn had Jameson’s photo removed from one site, it would pop up on another. The meme was spreading, and more and more strangers were laughing and sharing the mean-spirited photo.
What these internet trolls don’t know (or don’t care to know) is that Jameson was born with Pfeiffer syndrome, a craniofacial syndrome that causes premature fusion of the skull. In just a few short years, he has had two cranial vaults and four sets of tubes placed in his ears. He’s had his tonsils and adenoids removed, and underwent soft palate reconstruction. “These kids undergo multiple major surgeries early in their lives and they are never really able to ‘just be kids’. These are the kids you are making fun of,” AliceAnn remarks in her blog post.
We spoke to AliceAnn about the outpouring of support she’s been receiving. “When I read the comments posted under Jameson’s meme, there were SO many comments from complete strangers sticking up for him. It 100% counteracts the negativity!” she told LittleThings. “I know we will never get rid of the negativity and trash, but if you have a chance to stand up for something when you see something wrong, you should! Even if you don’t know the person directly, their parents and family will thank you.”
I guarantee when you read these excerpts from AliceAnn’s Facebook page and blog, “Jameson’s Journey,” you’ll see why her message is spreading like wildfire…
“A little over a year ago I wrote an article that featured my son’s sweet face all covered in marshmallow and chocolate, cheesin’ for the camera.
Now that sweet picture has resurfaced and is circulating around the internet. Except, that the photo has been altered. Someone, somewhere, decided for who knows what reason, to take that picture and create a meme comparing my son to a pug. What compels a person to do such a thing I will never understand. There is no way for me to know who did this, but for every post and share of this meme I will do everything in my power to get it taken down.
First, I have to say thank you. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart to every person that has stood up for Jameson. The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. I appreciate each and every one of you that has commented, reported, and reached out to us. I can’t put into words what it means to know you are taking your personal time to fight for Jameson. If you see this meme, please let me know. You can report the post, but if you send me a link I can file a claim for copyright violation.”
“Exactly one week ago I spent my Saturday night fighting an individual to remove my son’s photo from his Facebook page, where it had been liked 5,000 times and shared nearly 3,000. It was no easy feat and took 100’s, maybe even 1,000’s of reports being submitted, an army of people fighting with me, and a good 24 hours before Facebook removed it from his page. Success!! Only to find it on another site, with 1,000’s more shares and likes. My heart literally sank. But, we fought on. This one took days for Facebook to remove.
In addition to reporting these photos as harassment and bullying, I personally filed claims for copyright violations as this photo was stolen from my published article. I could go on about each instance this meme was found and brought to my attention, but that would take too long. The meme was found (so far) on 6 Facebook pages (3 of whom are the same person – just a little harassing), at least 8 times on Instagram, and 10 or 11 times on twitter. It is on 9gag, Tumblr, and who knows where else. Suffice it to say, it’s out there.”
“On to the moral part of this story. I could sit idly by and tell myself that there are cruel people out there and that’s the world we live in. But, 1. You stole a photo of my 4 year old son. Say what you want out loud, to your friends, in the comment box, but do not take my photo to degrade my child. 2. I was told by someone on Instagram (not so nicely) to ‘chill’ because this photo is not even a real person, it was photo shopped. Umm, no. That is definitely a person.
If you are going to laugh and share this meme, I think you should know exactly what it is you are sharing and laughing at.
So, to everyone that ‘LOL’d’, shared, and posted that meme, let me start by introducing you to the child you find so funny. His name is Jameson. He is very real, and he was born with Pfeiffer syndrome.
What is that? I’m glad you asked.”
“Pfeiffer syndrome is a craniofacial syndrome that includes craniosynostosis (premature fusion of the skull). The best way I can explain it is that there was a genetic mutation on the gene that tells your tissues and bones when to start and stop growing. Some grew too much (fused skull sutures), and some not enough (mid-face hypoplasia).
As a result, Pfeiffer’s kids vary from one to the other. Because of the severity of the mid-face hypoplasia and cranial abnormalities some kids have more issues breathing, eating, seeing, and hearing than others. Some kids have just 2 cranial sutures fused, others have all of them fused. It all depends on the child. All of this determines what kind, and how many surgeries will be needed.”
“The result of these conditions are not due to something the parent did or did not do during their pregnancy. These are almost always random genetic mutations. Meaning, there isn’t anything that can increase or reduce your chances of having a child with Pfeiffer syndrome (unless you already have it of course).
So, to all of you out there that are laughing so hard at my son, know that this in fact could be your child. And if one day this does happen to one of you that are out there laughing and making fun, I hope and pray you change your heart and welcome that child with loving arms.”
“I hope my tone is not negative, if it seems that way I apologize, but I am a protective mother. I promise you that as hurt as I am that someone created this meme I am not naive enough to believe there aren’t people out there who will mock and bully my child. But, I will always do what I can to encourage people to open their minds, hearts, and lives to Jameson and kiddos like him. We always Choose Kind, and we want you to as well.
What can you do to help? If you see this face somewhere it doesn’t belong, or if you see that meme, screenshot it and send it to me. Please do not share the meme. The screenshot also provides me with proof. You can also report it, as many times as you want. Unfortunately, that’s really about it for now. Once something is out there it’s there. Nonetheless, I refuse not to fight. It is absurd to me that it will ever be ok to target children to degrade and humiliate them.”
For all the hateful people who exist on the internet, it’s amazing to know that AliceAnn is finding strength and empowerment in the kindness of those who are goodhearted. Please SHARE this story with your friends on Facebook, and pay attention to AliceAnn’s message.