NRL News

Facebook page—“Prayers for Shane”—hacked but company returns control to Jenna and Dan after several painful hours

by | Oct 14, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

BabyShane41What could possibly motivate someone—anyone?—to hack a Facebook account established for a baby who had just died a few hours after birth and insert sexually explicit pictures?

Whomever that demented soul is, the site–Prayers for Shane–was thankfully restored after a few hours, thanks to Facebook and NBC 10 in Philadelphia which prodded Facebook to restore control to baby Shane’s parents, Jenna Gassew and Dan Haley.

NRL News Today readers will recognize the names. Jenna and Dan learned 13 weeks into pregnancy that Shane had anencephaly, a devastating brain malformation. Babies often die in utero, a few hours after birth, or, at most, a couple of days.

What made this family’s story so touching is that Jenna and Dan (who are in their early twenties but appear even younger) looked not to abortion but to how to create memories in whatever remaining time they had with Shane—his/their “bucket list.”

They took Shane to baseball games, brought him on a tour of New York City, and painted Jenna’s baby bump to look like a Jack-o’-lantern. In a word went to many of the places that had been important to them to share with their son.

Early last Thursday morning Shane Michael Haley was born. Then, according to Dan’s post

Today at 6:15AM, after meeting his entire family and being baptized into the Catholic faith, baby Shane died peacefully in his Mother’s arms .. we are so grateful for the time that we were blessed to hold and hug our son .. the support and prayers we have received from all of you have been amazing and we want to thank each of you with all our hearts .. Shane spent his entire life in the arms of people that loved him unconditionally and I don’t think you could ask for a more beautiful life than that .. he is home now with the Lord and will forever be our little miracle!”

BabyShanemomThe villain that hacked into their Facebook sent a message to Jenna around 1:30 on Saturday that appeared to come from Facebook, asking them to verify the Prayers for Shane account.

“The email looked very, very similar to one we got before,” she told NBC 10. “It looked legit, so I typed in Dan’s name and password,” Gassew said. “And then they took control of Shane’s page and took me out of being able to control it.”

“Gassew immediately contacted Facebook to rectify the problem,” wrote NBC 10’s Alison Burdo. “NBC10 staff also reached out to Facebook in an effort to expedite the process.” It took several hours but the pictures were removed and control reestablished.

Jenna’s father said she’d worried that “she would lose the memories posted on the page.” Fortunately, they were not.

The Facebook account gathered a huge following as people followed Shane’s adventures (there are more than 900,000 “likes”).

In one of his posts, Dan wrote

“Shane has already proven to us that each day must be lived to the fullest and that is exactly what our little family is doing. Follow us through our various adventures as we take Shane to some of our favorite childhood places.”

And people around the world did just that. When something as ugly as this hacking takes place, it’s important to remember that countless followers expressed their support for the young family.

As I wrote last week,

Thanks to Jenna and Dan for reminding us that each of us counts; that each of us is a member of the family; that the bond we forge during the months a baby like Shane is carried will last a lifetime; and that we can blessed in ways we could never imagine.

Categories: Anencephaly