When mum Natasha James, 33, put an appeal on Facebook for people to send her son, Dylan, a card for his ninth birthday, she never expected to receive a mountain of well wishes.
Dylan, who is deaf and has autism, had to be taken out of his school more than a year ago, and lost contact with other students when he spent nine months receiving treatment in London.
Worried that Dylan would feel lonely on his birthday, Natasha asked on Facebook if anyone could send him a card.
She was stunned when more than 700 cards arrived from strangers all around the world.
The final tally of cards was 714 and Dylan spent most of his birthday opening them all up – as his mum filmed his joyful reaction.
Natasha said: ‘Dylan spent a long time in London in hospital and has been out of school for over a year. He doesn’t have any friends, which is horrible to say.
‘I put an appeal on Facebook to see if anyone would send him a card.
‘The response we had from strangers was completely overwhelming. People were contacting us saying they would like to buy him something and what sort of card would he want.
‘They were absolutely brilliant. We thought we might get about 100, which would have made it very special. But the last count we had 714.
‘They were still putting things through the door right up until his birthday and leaving presents on the doorstep.’
Natasha said they had cards from as far away as Las Vegas and Australia. A chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, known as Bernie, also delivered a box of arts and crafts and 55 cards from all recruits at the navy barracks.
She added: ‘We have been inundated with cards and little gifts. The appeal went live on Facebook four weeks ago and things started arriving the following day. The postman had to knock on the door every day and they had to come in a special van
‘Some days there were 10, other days there were 50.
‘On his actual birthday (Thursday) we had 103 cards.
‘We were stunned. I put the appeal up and just hoped for the best and thought some would be better than nothing.
‘It is such a tough time for people at the moment and they are not meant to be going out.
‘We thought it would really slow down with the coronavirus but people were still making the effort by posting them during their only exercise of the day and they continued to turn up.
‘We are just so grateful that we are surrounded by such lovely people who were able to make Dylan’s day so special.’
Dylan doesn’t understand the current coronavirus lockdown, and it’s been tough on Natasha hearing him ask when they can go out and about.
But the pile of birthday cards helped to brighten up this tough time.
‘He is autistic and does not understand why he can not go out,’ Natasha says. ‘He kept asking throughout the day, can we go out now and can he have a friend come over?
‘Every time he did we just went back to open more cards. It took hours to go through them all.
‘It certainly gave us something to focus on and made the day a lot easier.
‘People are only allowed out once a day and to think during this time they wanted to post cards for my little boy was overwhelming. It means the world they were still making the effort for Dylan.
‘You can see in the video he was totally overwhelmed. His reaction was brilliant. He didn’t know where to start and was so intrigued to find out where they had all come from.
‘He does not understand the situation so it has been difficult with him. But this meant the world to us.
‘We will display the cards as much as we can in the front room and will be rotating them each day.
‘It made a very difficult time slightly easier and we will be forever grateful to the kindness strangers showed to my little boy.’
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