Idaho man with rare disease wants your Christmas cards, to pay it forward


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FRANKLIN — They’re not doing it for money, and they don’t want your donations. But a Franklin, Idaho, family is asking you to send Christmas cards to their disabled son, Joshua, KUTV reports.

Every card that Joshua receives, the family plans to donate $1, up to $500 out of their own pockets, to an account that will purchase items that will be donated to the Franklin County Idaho Sheriff’s Department, according to Joshua’s parents Jay and Kathy Keller.

“The department can then distribute the donated items to those children who are going through a traumatic time in their life. Please note that we are NOT asking for donations,” said Jay Keller.

Joshua’s parents are adamant that they just want to help others and pay it forward.

“Joshua Says Hello is NOT a commercial page. It is a private page and administered by Joshua’s parents. We are NOT a non-profit organization. We are NOT an LLC. We are NOT a donation site. We are NOT asking for donations. We are just an average family that started of struggling in this world and now we are at a point that we want to pay it forward,” according to Keller.

This is the second Christmas the Kellers have done this for their disabled son.

“We had just under 500 cards arrive from around the globe, including The United States, Japan, Australia, Sweden and many military bases from the United States and around the world. We were able to donate just over $600 worth of blankets, stuffed animals, coloring books and crayons to the Franklin County Ambulance association in 2016 and 2017. We hope to meet or exceed the number of cards sent to Joshua this year,” Keller says.

“Joshua has made several friends across the globe that bring him joy on a level that can never be repaid. The joy on Joshua’s face as he receives the cards, the joy when we go shopping for the items, and then the look of joy on his face when the donation is made has forever changed our family,” says Keller.

According to Joshua’s parents: “Joshua has a rare disease called Mowat-Wilson Syndrome. It affects the ZEB2 chromosome. It is a partial deletion. Most diagnoses are a full deletion of the chromosome, which leave that person with more severe disabilities. This is an umbrella diagnosis. Joshua’s diagnosis includes a myriad of disabilities including scoliosis, Hirschsprung’s disease, microcephaly, heart defect called a sinoral node dysfunction. He also has hip dysplasia, malformed joints. He is affected by epilepsy in the form of daily seizures and focal tremors that drain all his strength. He has a mild form of mental retardation. However, he has a great sense of humor. He loves to tease. He loves to play Dad’s drums and guitars. He gives the best hugs ever. All his emotions are genuine. When he holds you close and tight, just let it happen and all your worries will melt away. He is our daily reminder that God lives with him. Mom and Dad are just a stop in an adventurous time in Joshua’s life. We treasure every moment.”

This story first appeared on fellow CNN affiliate KUTV. It is used here with permission.