The web can be a cruel and unfeeling place, which one South Carolina mother experienced first hand when a photo she posted of her sick daughter was turned into a meme by Internet trolls.
Mariah Anderson with mother Kyra Pringle. (Photo Credit: News 2)
Mariah Anderson was born with Chromosome Two Duplication Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that impairs both learning and motor skills and drastically reduces one's life expectancy.
Her mother, Kyra Pringle, was horrified to discover that a picture she had shared in celebration of her daughter's second birthday was making its way around the Internet in the worst way possible.
One of the horrible memes created with Mariah's photo. (Photo Credit: News 2)
One meme compared the little girl to a leprechaun while another asked what people would do if "someone showed you their baby and she looks like this."
"She's not a monster," Pringle told News 2. "She's not fake. She's real. She is here." Her mother Linda added, "This is actually a human being, this is a child, this is a baby."
As word spread that this was, in fact, a real photo, Pringle said she began receiving positive messages instead of negative ones.
(Photo Credit: Facebook)
"One guy was like I was one of them to share this and laugh because I thought she wasn't real," recalled Pringle. "He said 'I do apologize. If I were you I wouldn't accept my apology.'"
Pringle said she is overwhelmed by the kindness she has received from strangers who have heard Mariah's story. "All I can say is thank you," she told News 2.
While there is no cure for Mariah's condition, the adorable little girl has already lived longer than doctors expected. The family is heading to North Carolina this month for different treatment options and have set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical expenses.