In these days of instant communication, extended groups of friends, social media stars, likes, shares, trends, etc., you never know what’s going to touch the heart of the public. Sometimes it’s a 14 year old kid who posts a song he recorded in his bedroom on YouTube and ends up becoming an international superstar. Sometimes its a quirky Korean in a white suit whose music video becomes the latest dance craze.
And sometimes it’s the simple request of a mother who wants to bring some joy to her autistic son on his 12th birthday.
Catherine Pearson, of Andover, Mass., had come to dread the date of February 24, her totally non-verbal son Logan’s birthday. Usually a day of quiet anxiety, the family celebrated it as best they could.
But this year, Catherine was hoping for a little something more. So she turned to Facebook, where she wrote, “Our sweet Logan turns 12 next month. I have already been feeling sick about losing another year where autism has my son – has his voice! Each year on his birthday I close my bedroom door & bury my face into my pillow and cry.”
She asked her friends to simply write “Happy Birthday, Logan” on a piece of paper and mail it to Logan; she would turn them into a small book and give it to him. It’s at this point that the power of social networking comes into play.
From that one simple post, Logan received over 3,000 notes and cards (and even a gift or two.) “He loves it. He’s just been ear to ear smiling,” Catherine said.
Birthday Greetings from Around the World
This would make a pretty good story if ended right there, but it didn’t. Birthday messages continued to pour in. Watch this YouTube video for just one example of how Logan’s story has touched people from around the world. We dare you not to shed a tear!
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Celebration Plans Grow as Logan’s Story is Shared
Logan’s story continued to spread. As the ABCNews.com article, Police Throw Mass. Autistic Boy Birthday Surprise After Mom’s Plea, reports, Catherine’s post eventually came to the attention of Pamela Ryan, who shared it with her boyfriend Steven Bikofsky, a police officer with the nearby Cambridge Police Department.
Catherine’s request touched Bikofsky as it had thousands of others; he wanted to do something. He decided that since he lived just 30 miles from the Pearson family’s home, he would personally deliver a birthday cake, balloons and a card to Logan.
“Something little would make this family’s day,” he added. Things just snowballed from there.
As Bikofsky started to make his plans, one thing led to another, and another, and another. First, fellow Cambridge officers wanted to join in, then the Andover PD also wanted to participate. We’ll just summarize by saying that the end-results included a multi-car police escort, lights and sirens, and 10 to 15 different agencies with 75 to 100 police officers involved. Logan got lots of special gifts for his big day, including police and fire department hats and shirts and even badges. A good time was had by all.
For more details and a short video about Logan’s big day, see the ABCNews.com report, Police Throw Mass. Autistic Boy Birthday Surprise After Mom’s Plea.
As we said at the start, you just never know. For someone who can’t say a word, Logan seems to have communicated with the outside world pretty well. Both he and his mom discovered that they’re not as alone in their struggle as they thought.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LOGAN!