People from across the community were planning to make the holiday season special for a 7-year-old boy who is battling terminal brain cancer.
Doctors told Nathan Elfrink's parents that this Christmas would be his last, 10TV's Lindsey Seavert reported.
When the community realized that Nate reached his final days, they wanted every day to be a gift. Now the gifts are coming from across Ohio, the U.S. and the world.
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On Monday, Nathan received 16 cards. Then, on Tuesday, he received 45 cards. On Wednesday, family members said that their mailbox was stuffed full of cards.
The letters came from strangers, stamped from dozens of states.
On Friday, Nate could not awaken to see all the presents that arrived in the mail.
"The side effects have started," said Dode McVey, the child's mother. "The headaches, the vomiting, he's tired. That is the beginning."
Diagnosed with the brain tumor at 20 months, Nate has had three surgeries, dozens of radiation treatments and a stem cell treatment. After six years, the tumor has finally taken over his body.
When McVey logged on and posted the news on Nate's Web site, she left an address in case anyone wanted to send him a Christmas card.
"My goal was to put a smile on his face," McVey said. "It was never his wish. It was my wish."
Visitors to the Web site decided to start a campaign to send Nate one million Christmas cards.
"It really touches my heart that I wanted a smile on his face," McVey said. "He is getting a smile on his face when he opens (the cards)."
The tight-knit community took it one step further, Seavert reported.
On Friday night, Nate was scheduled to flip the switch that turns on 300,000 Christmas lights in the city park.
"I can't wait to see the look on his face," McVey said.
His family prayed for a miracle but, this Christmas, would take just a smile instead.
"(Nate) looked at me one day and he looked upset," McVey said. "I said, 'What's wrong, Sweetheart?' He said, 'Will I be here for Christmas? Will I be here for Santa?' I said, 'Yes.'"
Cards may be sent to
2415 Taylor Blair Road
West Jefferson, OH 43162
Donations can be made to Nationwide Children's Hospital's children's hospice.
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