A week ago, Your News Wire published the story of Mia Blesky, the 12-year-old girl who’s been paralysed since having the first dose of the Gardasil vaccine.
The story went viral with millions of views worldwide and was generally received positively and sympathetically, with many people donating to the GoFundMe fund that Mia’s mum Gini had set up.
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Mia’s story was also picked up by several other websites and by the Mirror online in the UK. (Would have been nice if they’d credited us though!)
Gini and Mia were overwhelmed by the response. As Gini says: “We have had thousands of amazingly supportive comments and messages and we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who took the time to respond. I make a point of reading a selection of these positive messages to Mia daily and it really cheers her up. We’ve also had lots of suggestions on how to help Mia, which we’re now looking into.”
Sadly, however, there were some people who chose to attack – claiming that the story was a work of fiction and that it was being used to scam the public. Trolls not only pestered me (as the writer of the piece) but also Gini and her family too, brandishing all kinds of accusations, saying that Mia was faking her illness, that Gini was lying and that we (myself and Your News Wire) – were colluding with them both.
Here are a few of the comments the trolls made under Gini’s original post on Facebook about her daughter:
“This is bull.”
“Why would a mother do this to her own daughter?”
“It’s not the vaccine – she was already ill>”
“She was well enough to go to see Adele!”
“You’re just doing this to get money.”
“It’s another FB scam.”
“Why are you trying to scare people?”
Some of these comments are referring to Twitter posts Gini made in early 2016 when Gini mentions how pleased she is that her daughter is now well enough to go to see Adele in concert having suffered from a debilitating virus the previous October. The haters seemed to think that it was this virus and not the vaccine that was the cause of paralysis Mia suffered within 24 hours of having the Gardasil injection.
A Facebook ‘hate’ group was also set up:
Gini says: “I’ve got thick skin and I understand that trolls will always attack any story like this that goes viral. Some of the comments were especially nasty though and Mia can read them. Luckily, I was able to block and delete some of the really horrible ones.”
She goes on to talk about the videos of Mia, the link to which was published in the Your News Wire article on February 20th. “The video diaries I posted – on my Facebook page and the one included in the Your News Wire article – are authentic and provide an honest account of Mia’s journey from September last year to the present day.
Referring to the attacks from trolls, she goes on to say: “What some people may have read in March and April 2016 were Tweets about a virus Mia had the previous October, which physically impaired her and affected her weight-bearing ability. Back then, despite the virus, she was able to move her legs and do physiotherapy. She had treatment and made a full recovery.”
Describing the day Mia had the vaccine, Gini says: “She had the HPV Gardasil vaccination on 21st September 2016 and woke up on 22nd September with heavy legs, which within hours, she struggled to use.” In the following months, Mia lost the use of her whole body.
Mum Gini claims that all she wants at this point in time is an accurate diagnosis for Mia so that a recovery treatment plan can be worked out for her.
In response to being labelled an anti-vaxxer, Gini adds: “I am not anti-vaccine: I genuinely believe that Mia had a bad reaction to Gardasil and I just want some help for her. This is NOT a scam – this is our real lives.”
Facebook page documenting Mia’s Recover Story: https://www.facebook.com/miasrecoverystory
These days, as a journalist, writer and editor I write a wide variety of features, frivolous and serious. I work mainly for women's magazines and national newspapers and also enjoy writing for independent news outlets and websites - the sort that publish stories the mainstream media fail to report.