CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. – When a highly anticipated Christmas card from his Uncle Denny never came, Donnie Whipple soon received nearly 2,000 cards to make up for it.
Sitting and smiling behind a table piled with opened cards, Donnie said, "Thank you." He and his family were nearly running out of space to hang his Christmas cards and new ornaments. One card said it all: 'Bbest Christmas ever.”
After he did not receive a card from his uncle, and Donnie's card to his uncle was returned, his sister Spring Hobbs asked twenty of her Facebook friends to send him cards.
Within days, Hobbs said twenty cards which became 1,712 as of December 17.
The family’s mail carrier, Janine Gregory, showed FOX 17 a box full of about 80 cards addressed to Donnie on what she called a “slow day.”
In almost 30 years, Gregory said, she has never delivered this number of cards to anyone.
“It’s the last part of the route, and it just makes the whole day,” said Gregory.
Donnie read several cards aloud, some from nearby students: “I want you to know that people love you, and have a great day.”
Hobbs said Donnie spends just as much time opening incoming cards as he did his first ard. Some favorites show dogs or share a little story about the sender. There's usually no return address.
As of now, Donnie said, he has new friends from 46 states and from as far away as parts of Canada and England. As busy as their family is, Hobbs told FOX17, they spend about four to six hours each day talking about the cards and what they mean.
“He is the joy of my life,” said Hobbs. “My mother left him to me as a gift, that’s how I’ve always seen it. Yes, I have somebody in the house who will always believe.”
Through tears, Donnie said he cannot say “thank you” enough to everyone who brought him his “best Christmas” early.
If you would like to send Donnie a Christmas card, see his Facebook group, Cards for Donnie.
Hobbs said they are donating all gifts of money and gift cards that come with these cards. She said they have also received notice of donations such as a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Donnie’s name and a tree planted for the Arbor Day Foundation in his name.