Dad Turns Tables on Facebook Page Exploiting Sick Daughter, Raises Thousands For Charity

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An Illinois dad who discovered something repulsive - a Facebook spam page exploiting his sick daughter for Likes - responded in amazing fashion.

Sean Murphy took to the page, which is described as a "social content farm," and managed to raise money for the hospital that saved her life.

A picture he posted online that shows his little girl, Serafina, recovering from heart surgery, was used to bolster the advertising revenue of a page called Starteens.

Pretty awful. But the University of Illinois law student simply went on the page and asked readers to donate money to the hospital instead of "Liking" anything.

As a result, he raised thousands of dollars for the medical facility.

Serafina, then 22 months, needed surgery to repair a congenital defect to her heart at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in October 2012.

The picture of the pretty little girl on the hospital floor in Hello Kitty slippers with a bandage covering her chest and tubes running out of her arms went viral.

Murphy did not intend for that to happen, but he didn't necessarily mind ... until Starteens began inviting users to "Like" it if they wished her "a quick and healthy recovery."

Understandably the picture quickly garnered 4.3 million "Likes" on that page, boosting its relevance through the Facebook "Talking About This' metric.

This stat shows potential advertisers the popularity and engagement of users and reflects how many people are interacting with the page at any time.

The higher the ratings, the better Starteens can become at using people to click on links which go direct to external sites, from which they make money.


Sean M

About 11 hours after Serafina's picture was used for this purpose, Sean discovered it. Incredibly, he reacted not with rage but with a plea for support.

"If you are touched by this image and the strength of children, don't just ‘like’ or comment," he wrote. "Please help me to give back to the hospital."

Sean's comment caused a chain reaction which led 43,000 people to his donation page to raise money for the hospital, raising thousands of dollars.

Most importantly, little Serafina has recovered from her surgery and is now healthy. She certainly has a positive role model to look up to in life.

As for Starteens ... don't ever go there.

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