FAIRFIELD TWP., Ohio -- Andrew Little, the 8-year-old Fairfield Twp. boy who wished for enough Christmas cards to decorate his room at St. Joseph Home in Sharonville, got his wish, many times over.
The Journal-News reported as of late Tuesday morning, Little had received an estimated 50,000 pieces of mail. And that’s before an anticipated second wave of cards from Asia and Europe, his grandmother, Alyson Little, said.
If cards keep appearing — none have yet arrived from other continents, where there was news coverage last week — young Mr. Little may have enough cards to fill every seat of Paul Brown Stadium, which has a capacity of 65,535 and is where his two favorite Bengals, A.J. Green and Andrew Whitworth, play. He’s already eclipsed Great American Ballpark, which has a capacity for 42,319.
Alyson Little is guessing her grandson will have as many cards as Green and Whitworth have fans on a given Sunday, “because the mailman said the mail’s still going to keep rolling in for a week,” she said. “Plus, with it being picked up in the Asian markets — Japan, and China — and Europe….”
“Can you tell everybody from the bottom of my heart, how grateful I am?” asked Alyson Little, who spent $30 to spread the word on Facebook, hoping Andrew would receive dozens of cards, more than the four he got last year. Then this media outlet reported the story.
“Thanks to all the cards and everything, it was wonderful,” this Christmas, Alyson Little said. “It’s unbelievable. I still have two carloads of cards to take over today.”
“This is epic, and we’re elated,” said the grandmother of Andrew, who at about age 15 months contracted a rapid onset of transverse myelitis, a swelling of the spinal cord, which paralyzed him from the neck down. Andrew proved wrong doctors’ predictions that he would live only a week after the disease’s onset, and has developed into a clever boy with a good vocabulary who attends second grade at Evendale Elementary School.
“Between UPS, FedEx and the post office, we’re well over 50,000,” Alyson Little said. “It is unbelievable. We had to move everything to my husband’s warehouse. It’s about a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, and I bet you it takes up every bit of 1,000 feet. It’s one big bay. It is just unbelievable — and there’s more still coming in.”
Early last week, the mail started arriving non-stop, she said.
“My hat goes off to my postman, because he was at my house two or three times a day,” she said. “I’ve got to tell you: The postal service really came through.”
Grandma says Andrew is such a sweet boy. “He wants me to send everybody thank-you cards, and he wants to write to all these people. He has 50,000 new friends, and he’s going just gaga. He loves it.”
She has shown him photos of the piles of cards, but Andrew doesn’t understand the gravity of the overwhelming response, she said.
“I show him pictures, and he’s like, ‘You brought ‘em, right? You brought me all my cards?’” she said. “I was just over there yesterday, and he goes, ‘OK, Grandma, lay it on me. Where’s my cards?’ It would take a semi truck.”
On Friday, her postal carrier said the number of cards was at 50,000
‘“I know, because I have to scan them,’” she said the postal carrier told her.
Gradually, Andrew will get all his cards, she said.
This Christmas is “truly, the best he’s ever had,” she said. “Being thankful, and saying thanks, it would never be enough. I’m very humbled and grateful. Thank you doesn’t even begin to cut it…. But we’re very grateful. Everybody really went out of their way and over the top for him. I could never repay what everyone’s done for him.”
Alyson had hoped to decorate all the walls of Andrew’s room in Sharonville, but that plan has been delayed because of an outbreak of illness there, she said. Patients are being contained in their living areas, and Andrew has been unable to visit friends there yet to share the cards.
But she plans to string hundreds at a time in front of a wooden cabinet in a common area for when the illnesses subside, she said, so patients and their guests can enjoy them.
“These are his friends, and he’s so excited,” Alyson said. “He’s like, ‘Are they coming for my birthday party?’ He doesn’t understand 50,000.”
Grandma has heard from media outlets in Japan, which emailed and called her last week.
“Couldn’t really understand what they were saying,” she noted, with a laugh. “I know the story ran in Japan, and I know it ran in Europe, because I had newspapers from Germany, France and Austria get in touch with me.”
Andrew also got another unexpected surprise: Lemon Grenade Creative in Hamilton took him, a Star Wars fan, and his family to see the new movie, Rogue One.
“They made his day,” Alyson Little said.
After seeing the latest film, Andrew announced that with the sounds from his ventilator, “I sound like Darth Vader,” she said.
Want to send Andrew a Christmas card? Mail it to: Andrew Little, 4181 Weathered Oaks Lane, Hamilton, OH 45011.
The Journal-News is a media partner of WCPO- 9 On Your Side.