Facebook like other social media platforms can either be seen as a blessing or a curse, depending on who you speak to. For some, it is another platform to indulge their narcissistic tendencies. For others, it can be an essential tool that keeps them in touch with family and friends, as well as securing potential business connections. Whatever your take on the popular website, there’s no denying how much traction Facebook has made within the online domain, coming in at number three on Alexa’s top websites, sitting just behind online giants, Google and YouTube. As such, it stands to reason that different people will use their social network in alternate ways, including saving the lives! Here are ten examples of when this popular social media network was used to save the lives of others.
1. Facebook Friend Saves Teenager’s Life from Across the Pond: April 2009
Facebook is excellent for connecting users around the world, and it’s not uncommon for many people to become friends for a multitude of reasons. The Daily Mail highlighted one such friendship back in 2009. A relationship developed between an unnamed boy and girl who would often exchange messages, despite being based in Oxfordshire, UK, and Washington DC, US respectively. The girl based in the US became concerned when she saw the following update from her friend while browsing Facebook.
‘I’m going away to do something I’ve been thinking about for a while then everyone will find out.’
Worried, the girl alerted her parents. In turn, her parents managed to contact the British Embassy, who went onto contact Scotland Yard in the UK. Although the girl didn’t have an address for her online friend, she did know he attended a particular school in Oxfordshire, which allowed staff in Abingdon, UK to narrow their search to eight addresses within the location. Three hours later the boy was found alive, albeit suffering from a drug overdose. Following his attendance at the hospital, he made a full recovery, something that may not have occurred had it not been for the quick-thinking of his Facebook friend.
2. West Virginia Girl’s Facebook Update Save Father’s Life During a Frantic Storm: June 2014
Briana Vance is a 10-year-old girl who resides in West Virginia, and her idea to use Facebook as a lifeline has been attributed to her father’s survival during a violent storm. Before the storm had occurred, Briana’s father, Gregory Vance, had been sitting on the front porch when two friends, when a nearby tree came crashing down upon them according to reports from ABC back in June 2014.
Telephone lines were destroyed during the hostile storm, and any signals from mobile providers were minimal. However, Briana was able to get online and post the following update.
“The lightning crashed and hit a tree by our porch and my dad’s almost dead.”
“He needs an ambulance, please. Please call one for us if you have a signal. We live in a yellow house.”
The initiative shown by Briana had paid off, as a concerned user saw her online plea and notified the relevant authorities. Soon after, the three men were admitted to hospital for treatment following the incident, and were released shortly afterward.
3. Facebook Selfie Saves Women’s Life During Domestic
The selfie is synonymous with social networking, especially Facebook. However, the selfie posted by Susann Stacy from Kentucky wasn’t for online attention, it was something much more sinister, as reported by The Independent. Susann posted a selfie of herself following an alleged attack by her husband. As he had pulled the phone out of the wall, she only had her mobile and a Wi-Fi connection to hand. This used in tandem with her quick-thinking ensured that one of her Facebook friends were able to notify the Sheriff’s department after Susann posted a selfie showing a series of abrasions following an alleged attack.
Susann had suffered many lacerations to the head and informed authorities that her husband had used a handgun to attack her.
Although the attack was a serious one, it could have been much worse if it had not been for the selfie Susann took to highlight the severity of her situation.
4. Facebook Helps Woman Who Had Previously Been Misdiagnosed: April 2015
Although lives have been saved by those using Facebook, sometimes it’s the platform itself that saves lives.
Like many users, 36-year-old Laura Everkey used Facebook to follow her favorite posts. Laura had previously been suffering from lower back pain, constipation and back pain for three months. However, when she had sought medical advice in the past, they had been attributed to IBS and Endometriosis, so Laura thought nothing more of it.
Closer reported Laura has been browsing Facebook when a post suddenly stood out. It detailed that the symptoms that Laura was suffering from could point to ovarian cancer. Alarmed by the news, Laura consulted doctors of her findings, as it was discovered that Laura had ovarian cancer. Fortunately, doctors were able to perform a hysterectomy which rid her of her uterus and ovaries, which stopped cancer spreading further.
Although the news was far from pleasant, especially as cancer had already spread initially, it did allow Laura to take action quickly given her new-found information, with doctors being confident of her beating the disease further down the line with the use of chemotherapy.
5. Elderly Lady Who Took a Fall is Saved Thanks to Facebook
It’s become something of a running joke that the elderly are nothing more than technophobes, but it has been reported that one-in-four over 65s adopts social networks. Lois Shelton was one such person and found just how useful Facebook can be in times of need, as detailed by Komando.
Although Lois lived independently in Jefferson City, Tennessee, a recent fall meant that she couldn’t rely on means of communication she has relied on in the past, such as a telephone. This was due to Lois not being able to move her arm while being in a difficult and challenging position. However, noticing her laptop was nearby, she was able to lean over and post on Facebook. The post was as follows:
“HELP I NEED HELP I HAVE FALLEN”
The post meant that a friend was able to notify neighbors of the situation, who were able to attend the property and ensure she was taken to the hospital.
6. Autistic Man Who Doesn’t Talk Much Saves Baby’s Life Using Facebook: May 2016
There’s no denying just how powerful a platform Facebook is when it comes to connecting people, but some people rely on the social network a little more than others. Aaron Cahal suffers from autism, and despite not talking much, likes to use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends.
Inside Edition reported on an incident that occurred 2016. It detailed how Aaron was in his back garden on Mother’s Day when he suddenly heard cries of distress coming from nearby. Rather than panic, Aaron thought on his feet and took a picture of his location, which he then messaged to South Point Police Department, stating the following:
“Police we need police, I hear big crying people, scary people.”
It transpired that an 18-month-old boy had fallen into a nearby neighbor’s pool, and the cries were people screaming for help. Thanks to Aaron’s quick-thinking, police were able to locate the child and ensure he was taken to the hospital, where he made a full recovery.
7. A Mother’s Life is Saved by Facebook Following a Stroke
There are some who use Facebook now and again, and there are others who are always active on the site. Known as something of a Facebook queen, Fleur Costello, was browsing Facebook, when she suddenly suffered a stroke. As Fleur had fallen to the floor, reaching for the phone was somewhat difficult. Fleur was so worried that she even shouted to her pet dog for help.
Knowing her options were limited, Fleur began to yank at nearby papers in a bid to get to her laptop. She managed to get the laptop to land right by her. She found Facebook was open and sent her husband the following message:
“help faintef cannoi get up
uhrlp gurt h4ead”.
Coincidentally, her husband, Karl Equi, has been trying to call her without success. Despite telling The Sun he wasn’t a fan of Facebook, he knew his wife was and decided to check the social network, where he was greeted with the message sent by his wife. After 13 years of marriage, Karl knew his wife wasn’t joking and left work immediately. As he made his way home, he alerted his neighbor, who was able to break into the house and raise the alarm to emergency services.
Fleur was admitted to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, UK and stayed in for a week. Although a series of tests were carried out, Fleur made a full recovery, all thanks to Facebook and the initiative shown by Fleur.
8. Woman Aims to Save One Animal Life with Facebook, And Ends Up Saving Thirteen: June 2016
Seeing cats and dogs linger around isn’t uncommon, so when US-based Cassandra Clark first noticed a husky on a nearby balcony, she didn’t think too much about it. However, when Cassandra noticed the animal a second time, she found it was left in the porch wearing a metal muzzle. Once Cassandra had seen the dog left out in the sweltering heat with no water, she knew it was time to take action.
Dodo reports that although Cassandra called animal services immediately, she was told that they might not be able to investigate for 24 hours. Considering what Cassandra had already witnessed, this didn’t sit well with her. As such, she took to Facebook and highlighted her concerns amongst her followers and friends. It wasn’t long before the post gained traction, and was met with a positive reaction from a collective of concerned Facebook users. The post gained so much attention that Dallas Animal Services called at the property to ensure that the husky was okay. However, when Dallas Animal Services attended, they not only found the husky to be malnourished. However, rather than just seeing one malnourished animal, animal services found another 12 animals that were also in need of immediate care.
Had Cassandra not took to Facebook with her plight, the animals could have suffered from neglect, which could have led to many unwanted outcomes.
9. A Nurse Browsing Facebook Saves the Life of a Two-Year-Old: August 2010
While there have been situations on Facebook which had offered users a massive call-to-action when it came to saving someone’s life, there are some occurrences which could readily be associated with fate. One such event is when Nicola Sharp, a nurse from the UK, was browsing through her friend’s online photos. However, when Nicola looked at Michelle Freeman’s pictures a little closer, there was a particular image of Michelle’s daughter, Grace, that caught her attention.
Newsfeed reported that within the photograph, Grace’s eyes had been lit up due to the flash. Nothing uncommon here, especially in the world of social media, after all, not everyone is a professional photographer. However, Nicola didn’t notice that rather than having a red-eye glint in the picture, one of Grace’s eyes was white.
This may not have registered with a lot of people, but as Nicola was medically trained, she knew the white reflection could point towards eye cancer, and wasted no time in notifying Nicola about her concerns.
Upon being admitted to the hospital, pediatricians found that Grace was indeed suffering from retinoblastoma, which could have been fatal had it not been for the zealous actions of Nicola. Freeman is forever thankful to Nicola and pointed out that her closer inspection of Grace’s photo saved her life.
10. Terrified Girl Being Held Captive Alerts Friends with Facebook Posts
Amy Wilson is a woman based in the UK who like many others, enjoyed spending quality time with her boyfriend. However, after a spending a period with her partner, Joshua Knight, she so noticed that his behavior had started to change. The situation took a drastic turn for the worse when Joshua threatened Amy with a gun, forcing her into a bathroom, as reported by the Daily Star.
Fearing for her life, Amy detailed her location and alerted friends via Facebook with her worrying updates. Worried friends alerted police, who were able to attend the Sunderland property. Although the weapon Amy was being threatened with was only a BB gun, it’s still a worrying situation, especially when someone you love started to act off character. Amy chose to use the social network to alert her friends, as she was worried that Joshua be have been able to hear her pleas.
Following his arrest, Jordan Knight was sentenced to 16 months, with the intention of causing fear. While we can truly never know how much Amy’s life was in the balance, it doesn’t bear thinking about the situation could have escalated had Amy not notified her friends using Facebook.
Hate it or love it, there’s just no denying how useful a platform Facebook can be. Sure, it has its problems, but as these ten stories have highlighted, it does show how integral Facebook has become in our everyday lives, especially when it comes to saving them.