Myth Blaster: The Circumstance of Gary and Cindy Hogan

The following chain email was sent to Diane S., Wisconsin and she requested that Myth Blaster check it out:
Please Pray For Us
Mon, 22 Jan 2007 10:22:25 -0600
This is a 
Green BayWisconsin family.
Prayer request for Gary and Cindy Hogan. 
Gary is serving in Iraq while his young wife is fighting cancer here.
Prayer is a powerful thing. THIS COUPLE NEEDS OUR PRAYERS. PLEASE read this.
Tough times don’t last… Tough people do !!! Prayer makes all the difference.
My name is Gary Hogan. Some of you receiving this know me, some do not. My wife, Cindy, is 32 years old and has just been diagnosed 3 days ago with stage 4 cervical cancer and her chances for survival are very slim.
She was pregnant with our second child and had miscarried recently at 3 months, and now we know why.
This is a request for you to forward this e-mail to everyone you know asking for prayer. The more people that pray for her to be healed, the better. Pray and forward. It only takes a second to hit “forward”. Please do it and don’t delete this, your prayer can, and perhaps will, save her life … Thank you, and please send this to the far reaches of our world.

Myth Blaster Verdict:

FALSE. Varied formats. Based on true circumstances, which are outdated.
The first key indicator for anyone who served in the military is that he is in Iraq while his wife is dealing with life threatening cancer – the military and the Red Cross would have made sure he got home.
The email did not occur in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the last name of the couple is Hogman, not Hogan – and the circumstance dates back to June of 2001, according to Snopes:
Back in June 2001, Gary and Cindy Hogman of BedfordTexas, had just endured the loss of the baby Cindy had been carrying when a pulmonary embolus took her back into the hospital. It was then they learned Cindy had cancer and that the outlook was not good. Gary was moved to e-mail his plea for prayers to a handful of friends and to ask them to forward it to others. Such was the power of the Internet that it was only a matter of days before his heartfelt request had spread far and wide. … According to a note from Cindy’s husband, as of February 2002, Cindy’s cancer was in remission. Although her oncologist warned that Cindy was at risk for reoccurrence of the cancer, at of this writing, Mrs. Hogman remains free of disease. As often happens in cyberspace, however, the outdated message lives on, circulating in countless versions with all sorts of permutations in the spelling of the Hogman’s surname and the location of their home town. …

Snopes provides the original email sent out.
Gary was and is not serving in Iraq a a soldier or any member of the US Armed Forces. Chain email can become like the circle gossip game – out several people in a room, pass on a whispered message to one and by the time it gets around the original content is lost and sometimes meaningless.
Thanks, Diane for passing this to Myth Blaster to pass on to readership. The “Hogans” have had geographical addresses from North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia to Wisconsin and westward to Topeka, Kansas and members of various religious entities, interestingly mostly Baptist Christian sects.
According to Snopes, the version that added that Gary is a soldier in Iraq was added circa February 2004 in various forms.
If you are going to forward email, do not include the addresses sent but use the BCC feature where it only shows the primary email address and ensure that the stuff is legit before forwarding to friends who may be interested. More often than not the person initiating a hoax like this wants the email addresses that are included in the forward to use for spamming – and making money off an email forward listing. You can count on soon being hit with a flood of SPAM email after that occurs. In this way we can all work at diminishing this type of email and reduce SPAM. Ultimately the best key is the DELETE key for most of this nonsense.
Also see following links concerning “Hogan” email: Wheelchair JunkieUrban LegendsHoaxes.