When the "news" that someone stole all of the DVDs from the Texas Children's Hospital Cancer Center started rocketing around the Internet and radio, it was received with predictable anger. Individuals, nonprofits and publications came together to organize against the heartless person who dared thieve from ailing kiddos.
Thankfully, the true story isn't quite so sinister. As Jenn Jacome, manager of public relations for Texas Children's Hospital, tells CultureMap, the empty shelves in the Infusion Room were more like absentminded appropriations by patients and parents over a longer time period.
No thief actually stole all the kids' DVDs.
The hospital is in awe of the outpouring of support, Jacome says, "But we don't want to mislead the public in any way."
Following the trail of news releases and Facebook posts, hospital officials think that they found the root of the now-overblown story — an erroneous Facebook post that led to a false radio report that caused a foundation to jump into action. Then, numerous news outlets ran with the story without doing any fact checking.
While there was no sinister thief, Texas Children's still does need movies to fill in the gaps of a dwindling collection.
"Obviously we accept donations, and we're appreciative of all of the donations that we receive," Jacome says. The hospital is in awe of the outpouring of support, she says, "But we don't want to mislead the public in any way."
The Layla Grace Children's Cancer Research Foundation issued a call for DVD donations (G-rated, of course) through the end of September, and Jacome encourages individuals interested in donating to look at other ways to give.