He doesn’t want a trip to Disneyland, an iPad, or even another one of his beloved video games. For his 9th birthday, on Feb. 11, all Bubby Everson wants is mail, ideally cards with stickers enclosed. “He loves mail,” mom Brandi McNerney-Everson tells Q13 Fox News. “Even if it’s junk mail.”
Bubby’s doting parents are happy to accommodate, and hopeto rally others to send in mail too, because they’re not sure how many birthdays their son has left. The Graham, Washington boy is terminally ill with Cytomegalovirus (CMV), a disease he contracted via virus at birth that in rare instances, like his, can be fatal.
So the parents have set up a post office box – Attention: Bubby Everson: P.O. Box 1142, Graham, WA 98338 – for their son in the hopes that generous strangers will send mail, cards and stickers to lift their little one’s spirits on his big day.
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Bubby Everson, Brandi McNerney-Everson and Thomas Everson at home (Photo: WGN).
And since the couple shared their goal on local TV, dad Thomas Everson tells Yahoo Parenting that the notes have been pouring in. “We’ve received a lot of support for this birthday wish and it’s been absolutely amazing,” he says. “I’m completely blown away. I feel truly blessed that random strangers from all over the world are wiling to take time to send him a card to express their willingness to help.”
The couple plans on surprising Bubby with a treasure hunt through their home and neighborhood during his birthday party Feb. 7. They’ll fill treasure chests along the way with all of the letters he receives. “Bubby has no idea,” says Thomas. “No clue.”
Mom and dad have had to scramble, though, to keep their operation covert. “We purchased a few small treasure boxes from a crafts store but now we don’t think it’s going to be enough,” says Bubby’s dad. “We’re going to have to keep the hunt going well after his birthday to be able to give him all of the cards he receives.” And the stickers? “He’s going to be getting so many stickers our house will be covered.”
The celebration will certainly cheer up what’s been a long and difficult struggle to keep Bubby healthy. “Knowing that we could lose him at any time, that’s hard,” says mom Brandi. But she insists that her son is one tough cookie. “I don’t think he’d be here if he wasn’t a fighter,” she adds. “He’s amazing.”
The list of challenges the boy deals with every day is long. His CMV was diagnosed at age 2 and since then doctors have also identified that he has Autism, cerebral palsy, scoliosis, and epilepsy among other issues. Every day he uses a cochlear implant to hear and a wheelchair to get around outside the house.
Doctors “told us that they could not give us a ‘life expectancy’ on him because most kids don’t live past 15,” Brandi writes on a Go Fund Me page that she began to raise funds to build Bubby a safe sensory room for him in their home.
Requests like the Everson’s have met great success recently thanks to social media. Frenchman Lucien Parisseux’s November Facebook appeal for postcards to his son with Down Syndrome raked in 30,000 cards for the 30-year-old on his birthday. A mother’s Craigslist request for musicians to come play holiday music for her disabled 3-year-old son in their Texas home this past December got more than 300 responses. So many musicians offered to come play at their home, in fact, that the family set up an online calendar to schedule appointments. Then there was the January Facebook call, “Photo Doggies for Anthony,” for well-wishers to send photos of their pets to cheer up 16-year-old Anthony Lyons as he endured chemotherapy treatments for Leukemia at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The online event raked in 1.6 million responses to date.
All the Eversons are hoping to achieve with their request for cards, however, is a smile. And dad Thomas says he’s pretty sure they’ll score a win. He says, “I know that Bubby’s going to love it!”