Kentucky teen’s only wish for his birthday is one of connection
Some birthday wishes were just meant to be granted. For a young boy fighting for his life in Kentucky, he doesn’t want extravagant toys or an expensive vacation—his wish is simple this year. To feel connected to people at a time when his life feels out of his control. He wants some birthday cards. For a family that’s been through so much, it makes his request even more bittersweet.
Aaron Stamper’s family has been through more than most. “It’s been a hard two years, it’s been rough,” Aaron’s mom, Diane Stamper, told Lex18 News. “There’s days I don’t know if we can get through it or not, but we just have people pray for us.” To say it’s been rough is an understatement.
Two days before Aaron’s 13th birthday in April of 2014, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic t-cell 2 leukemia. One year later Aaron’s 19-year-old brother Ethan was killed in a car crash. For the whole family, this coming April will be a difficult series of anniversaries to get through.
“I’m dreading it very much because we need to celebrate Aaron’s birthday, but at the same time, we’ll be celebrating the anniversary for his [Ethan’s] death too,” Stamper said. When Aaron mentioned all he wanted for his birthday was a mailbox full of birthday cards, his mom said she wanted to get the word out to help make his sweet 16 special.
Cards are usually the thing you rip through quickly before you open your real present. So why is it the only gift the teen wants? “I just like to collect them,” Aaron said. “When I get older I want to put them in a book so I can remember them all, remember how hard things were.”
Since Aaron’s story aired locally, the community has been rallying around the family, sending cards and holding fundraisers. A fourth grade teacher, Robert Calmes, in nearby Lexington, KY started a Go Fund Me page for Aaron and his family. “My class and I have written approximately 65 get well cards. I am trying to teach my students two life lessons. The first is to help those who are going through a rough patch in life and the secondly is to be humble. Aaron is a great example of humbleness. If all people were as humble as this kid, the world would be a better place,” Calmes wrote.
Sometimes all we want in life is to feel connected. Knowing other people are out there and care about you can mean everything. Whether its sharing how you pulled through a difficult time or offering words of encouragement, the written word has the power to change perspective and lift us up.
Aaron’s request is simple, but one his mother believes will give him the strength to keep fighting. “It would mean a great deal to know it would bring him joy,” she said.
If you’d like to send a card to Aaron for his birthday on April 2nd, cards can be sent to: 2795 Pea Ridge Road Irvine, KY 40336.