British Columbia

B.C. boy fears a lonely 9th birthday. His parents reach out to the world for help

A Salmon Arm couple issued a public plea last week for help cheering up their son on his upcoming birthday. The response has been overwhelming.

The response has been overwhelming, and includes a video message from a Hollywood star

Damien Smith was worried his ninth birthday was going to be lonely. So his parents posted a message on Facebook, asking for birthday wishes. They've been overwhelmed by the response. (Submitted by Tiffanie Trudell)

Damien Smith moved to Salmon Arm, B.C., with his parents two weeks ago, but the move has been hard. The young boy is worried he'll have no friends celebrating his ninth birthday with him next month. 

So his parents, Tiffanie Trudell and Thomas Smith, came up with a solution they hope will make their son happy — they're asking anyone and everyone to send him birthday cards.

"Since moving out of the city he's been feeling pretty sad about his friends and our family not being around this year ... he actually said he's going to be really lonely," Thomas Smith wrote on Facebook. "What I'm wondering is would anyone be interested in sending him some birthday cards in the mail?"

Days after posting the request last week, the couple had already received many birthday wishes, as well as gifts from as far as India, New Zealand and Norway.

"It's pretty insane," Trudell told Brady Strachan, guest host of CBC's Daybreak South.

Even more to the parents' surprise, Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds delivered a video greeting to the boy this week after learning about his family's story. The parents say they will keep the video a secret until Damien's birthday. 

Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds delivered a birthday video greeting to the boy, which will be kept secret until Damien's birthday next month. (Submitted by Tiffanie Trudell)

Damien's family moved from Coquitlam, where he had developed a strong connection with his maternal grandmother and received a lot of support in school, but his parents' relocation plan turned his life upside down, they say. 

"We already feel guilty that we took him away from his friends," said Trudell. "He already has a really hard time making friends."

In the Facebook message, Thomas Smith wrote that Damien has self-confidence issues and doesn't always feel accepted.

The couple is hiding all the cards and gifts in a closet until Nov. 21, the Saturday before his birthday on Nov. 24. 

"He's going to walk up the stairs and go into the living room. And there's going to be cards and presents in the whole living room," Trudell said.

A Salmon Arm bakery has promised to make a birthday cake for him, and extended family members and friends from Coquitlam and elsewhere will come to celebrate with him.

Thomas Smith, Damien's stepfather, shows the cards and gifts they've received from people all over the world. (Submitted by Tiffanie Trudell)

"We're hoping that this helps him see that everyone around the world really does care, and it doesn't matter where you are," Trudell said.

Meanwhile, any birthday wishes and gifts can be mailed to P.O. Box 321, Canoe, B.C. V0E 1K0, Canada. 

And for now, don't let Damien know, shhh!

Tap the link below to listen to Tiffanie Trudell's interview on Daybreak South:

Damien Smith's mother Tiffanie Trudell speaks to Brady Strachan about a project for her son's ninth birthday in November. 5:59

With files from Daybreak South

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now