The mother of a 4-year-old boy born with a syndrome that altered the shape of his head and caused other health complications is hitting back at Internet trolls who turned a personal photo of him into a social media meme.
AliceAnn Meyer, of Texas, posted a photo of her son Jameson as part of her online blog titled Jameson’s Journey, which documents his life with Pfeiffer syndrome. The disorder causes premature fusion of certain skull bones that prevents the skull from growing normally, and affects the shape of the head and face. It can also affect bones in the hands and feet, and more than half of all children with Pfeiffer syndrome experience hearing loss and dental problems. It affects approximately 1 in 100,000 newborns, according to Boston Children’s Hospital.
Meyer, a mother of three, discovered that the picture she had posted of her son more than a year ago had been altered to compare him to a pug, and that it had been circulated on various social media sites. On Facebook, it had been shared more than 3,000 times.
"There's a person behind a picture, and too often people think it’s OK to cross boundaries on the Internet."
- AliceAnn Meyer
“You stole a photo of my four-year-old son,” Meyer wrote in a post titled This Is My Son Jameson, And No, You May Not Use His Photo. “Say what you want out loud, to your friends, in the comment box, but do not take my photo to degrade my child,” she wrote.
“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,” she wrote.
It took Meyer several days and reports of abuse from other users before the post was removed from Facebook.
“To all of you out there that are laughing so hard at my son, know that this in fact could be your child,” she wrote. “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.”
She urged others who see the photo to report it or take a screenshot and send it to her to report.
“My goal is to turn this whole thing into a positive story, spreading awareness and education about Pfeiffer syndrome, about kids who look different who get targeted too often,” Meyer told FoxNews.com in an email. “There’s a person behind a picture, and too often people think it’s OK to cross boundaries on the Internet.”