A Salmon Arm couple’s request for birthday cards for their eight-year-old son has gone global.
With their son Damien’s birthday coming up on Nov. 24, Thomas Smith and Tiffanie Trudell knew they had to do something special.
“We just moved to the Shuswap two weeks ago, and my boy’s birthday is coming up and I asked him, ‘Are you… excited about your birthday?’” explained Smith. “And he’s like, ‘No, I’m just going to be lonely.’”
Their hearts broken by Damien’s response, the couple, who moved to the area from Coquitlam to be with parents, crafted a post to share on Facebook, appealing to the public for help celebrating their son’s special day.
“Since moving out of the city, he’s been feeling pretty sad about his friends and our family not being around this year…,” reads the post, adding how with COVID-19 the family has chosen to not have a party.
“What I’m wondering is would anyone be interested in sending him some birthday cards in the mail?”
Thomas said he has been astonished by the outpouring of compassion and support the posts have prompted, explaining people from all over the world – India, Austria, New Zealand, Norway and, of course, the Shuswap – have said they will be sending birthday greetings.
“Even elementary schools are sending cards,” said Smith, noting he’s received so many messages on Facebook that his page crashed – twice.
“I didn’t know it could do that,” laughed Thomas.
Though Damien’s birthday is still more than a month away, some people have already surprised the family with gifts.
“One of our neighbours, I don’t even know who he is, he saw the post and came knocking on our door and gave us a (Sidney) Crosby jersey and a card, and I was like, ‘Holy,’” said Smith.
“And then another person called and said they were going to make a custom Deadpool cake for him. Ten people have offered us cakes so far but we’ve already got that one.”
Also received in advance of Damien’s birthday was a special video greeting from Western Canadian rapper and family friend, Merkules.
Thomas and Tiffanie explained that Damien struggles with reading. They plan to read the cards together with him, as a way of helping him along.
Asked how they plan on giving Damien the cards, Thomas has a plan to sneak into his room and tack them all over the walls for a surprise.
In addition to helping Damien with his reading, Thomas and Tiffanie say the birthday greetings are also a way of showing Damien he is far from alone.
“What better way for Damien to appreciate the joy that the world loves him,” said Thomas.
Anyone wishing to send Damien a happy birthday greeting can do so by mailing to the following address: Damien Smith, PO Box 321, Canoe, B.C., Canada, V0E1K0.