A request for cards and letters brings a viral outpouring of love and support to child at Bethany Children’s Health Center
Levi was admitted to Bethany Children’s Health Center on April 24th, a month after suffering a brain injury which caused both hearing and short-term memory loss, along with difficulty walking and swallowing.
In May, Levi started to receive a few cards and letters. Levi’s mom, Gretchen, says, “We really noticed how much enjoyment he got out of reading these, how his eyes lit up and how much he smiled each time he would receive something in the mail here at the hospital. He would read each and every piece of mail over and over again, since with his memory loss he didn’t remember reading it before.”
On June 1st, Gretchen shared a post to her network on Facebook, telling friends and family how much Levi enjoyed receiving mail. Later that month, one of Gretchen’s employees offered to throw Levi a “card shower” by posting and encouraging others to send cards and letters to Levi.
“I had never heard of this before, but was excited to see the response,” admits Gretchen. “Our two posts have been shared repeatedly. It is mind-blowing how much of a response we have received.”
Levi’s story has been picked up by radio and news stations, and as of July 9th, Levi had received 561 cards and letters, coming from 35 states, Canada, and as far away as Japan. Levi and his family are tracking the mail and coloring in corresponding states on a US map when he receives mail, hoping to fill the map.
Levi is an avid Oklahoma Sooners fan and has received many OU swag items and other gifts, along with a surprise visit from Coach Bob Stoops. Strangers have offered to share their talents and resources – from music to art to adapted technology – with Levi and his family. The outpouring of love and support has included many gifts, books, toys and more.
Gretchen says that Levi appreciates the fact that people from all over are thinking of him and sending mail. “Levi has said multiple times that it is so nice that random people want to send him a card or gift and write to him,” she says. He asks his parents if they know the senders and hopes they will thank them.
With Levi’s hearing loss, the mail he receives has allowed him to socialize, interact and stay connected. While he is sad about his hearing loss and missing out on things outside of the hospital, Gretchen says this is a way for him to engage with the outside world in a positive and uplifting way.
Gretchen shares this message from the family to everyone who has taken the time to mail something to Levi. “We want to express our sincerest gratitude for all the love and support that has been shown to Levi. We never expected to get this much of a response. We cannot thank everyone enough for continuing to put a smile on our sweet boy’s face every day when he receives his mail.”