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Old 02-10-2003, 07:35 PM   #1
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Chatting with people in message boards/chat can save your life!

So next time your friends or family tell you you're crazy to be stuck on a U2 board all day, you can show them this!

Web chatterers pull off virtual rescue

VANCOUVER -- Darlene Laurie was exchanging messages last week on her favourite Internet site, a chat group linked to a casino game, when she lost consciousness.

She had been struggling with a headache for five days. She remembers sitting at the computer and suddenly losing her vision. Moments before collapsing, she tapped out a message: 911.

The emergency message started a frantic search across the United States for information about a computer user known as Hatless Bug. People from 10 states became involved in tracking her down.

Someone in Pennsylvania had a phone number for Ms. Laurie; someone in Connecticut had an address. Someone in Kennewick, Wash., contacted the RCMP in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.

The police sent a patrol car to Ms. Laurie's home and, after receiving no response, the Mounties forced their way in.

Less than two hours after she lost consciousness, Ms. Laurie, who is housebound with an autoimmune disease that is progressively damaging her eyes, kidney and heart, was under medical care at a local hospital for a minor stroke.
A lot of people dismiss a computer as an impersonal machine, Ms Laurie said yesterday in an interview.

"It is not. There are real feelings in there," she said. "There are real people there, not just names on a screen."

Constable Phil Reid of the RCMP's Burnaby detachment said police were surprised by the response of strangers to something that popped up on their terminal.

"You could very easily ignore it. You think there's no one there," he said.

"But by what these people did, they probably saved her life."

Ms. Laurie has three children and three grandchildren. She was a licensed practical nurse, an office manager and a Vancouver police department employee before she fell ill.

She said she has participated in the chat room linked through to the casino game called Ali Baba Slots for almost two years.

"I'm there every day," she said. She has become friends with several other regular participants and has travelled to the U.S. to meet some of them, she said.

Ms. Laurie gave credit to another regular for pulling her out of a depression. "We support each other. Even though we don't really know each other, we are friends and send a lots of hugs and I-love-you's," she said.

She recalled a time when she was "ready to give up on life," but her on-line relationship with that person gave her extra years of happiness.

"He's always been there for me," she said.

Ms. Laurie said she spends most of the day on the computer. People she knows only through the computer "make my life," she said. "Where else can I go to a roomful of strangers and find people who are so caring and thoughtful?"

Most people use a pseudonym in chat groups. Despite the fantasy names, she said, the people are real.

The Internet has become a significant part of the way people communicate, said Richard Smith, an associate professor in the school of communication at Simon Fraser University.

Many people think of the Internet as an extra to daily life, he said. But more and more people are relying on the Internet as others rely on the phone.

"That's why the use of the Internet has taken off," he said. "For everyday applications of communications, we love to do it."

Prof. Smith said that most people who participate in chat groups know personal information about others in the group.

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Old 02-10-2003, 08:24 PM   #2
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I heard about this a week ago or so as I live in Vancouver and it was all over the news. What a great story, most of the internet stories you hear are about people scamming each other, child abusers etc so this is a really nice example of the other side of human nature that comes out to help each other whether you know the person well or not. Thank god those other people in the chat group took the 911 message seriously, to be honest, I don't know if I would, especially here as there is so much sarcasm/joking flyin' around. (I think!)
Way to go to all the concerned message boarders who took action and saved a life!

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Old 02-10-2003, 08:31 PM   #3
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That's really cool
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Old 02-10-2003, 08:49 PM   #4
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Old 02-10-2003, 09:12 PM   #5
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Wow- it's great that they saved her life!
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Old 02-11-2003, 02:28 AM   #6
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"....But all I ever hear from you is "
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Old 02-11-2003, 07:55 AM   #7
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It's great to read something positive like this, instead of negatives like people tearing each other down, playing games, etc.

I did read something recently about a guy committing suicide in a chat room
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Old 02-11-2003, 12:45 PM   #8
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That is a nice story.
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Old 02-11-2003, 03:59 PM   #9
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wow! Good story!
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Old 02-11-2003, 04:02 PM   #10
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Old 02-11-2003, 11:33 PM   #11
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a sad story

Three Japanese people have been found dead after apparently organising their suicides via a website.
The 26-year-old man and two women are believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
A 17-year-old student who read about the plan on the internet reported the deaths to police.
Tokyo police found several portable clay cooking stoves inside the apartment, its glass door sealed with tape and the door locked from the inside.
Japan, which has a population of 125 million, has one of the world's highest suicide rates, regularly topping over 30,000 a year.
The stagnant economy has been blamed for an increasing number of suicides as many struggle with job losses, bankruptcies or mounting debts.
Associated Press
Story filed: 14:49 Tuesday 11th February 2003

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