Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia girl receives over 20,000 Christmas cards after mother's online plea

The mother of a girl battling cancer says their Christmas was "extra special" after their mailbox was flooded with more than 20,000 messages of love and encouragement from strangers around the world.

Hailey Rodenhiser, 9, flooded with letters of support as she battles leukemia

Hailey Rodenhiser's mom thought a little bit of mail would cheer her up this Christmas. She never expected what would happen next. (Jaunita Rodenhiser/Facebook)

The mother of a girl battling cancer says their Christmas was "extra special" after their mailbox was flooded with more than 20,000 messages of love and encouragement from strangers around the world. 

Juanita Rodenhiser of Dayspring, N.S., posted a message on Facebook at the end of November in hopes that her daughter would receive some mail to cheer her up over the holidays.

Nine-year-old Hailey Rodenhiser is in the middle of treatment for leukemia. Her mother was worried her spirits were down and wanted to cheer her up. 

"It's encouragement to her, it makes her recognize that she's not alone," said Juanita Rodenhiser.

"There's people thinking about her. There's people that care about her."

They never imagined their little request for mail would go so far. 

Special deliveries

The family received so many cards, Canada Post has had to send a van loaded with letters to their home almost daily.

Hailey has received letters from as far away as Singapore. Her mother says they're opening a few at a time to make sure she reads every message. (Jaunita Rodenhiser/Facebook)

"It's gone far beyond our expectations. We actually had to move them offsite because we couldn't store them in our house over the holidays and have room for family."

The letters are now stuffed into a small room, and every day the family takes the time to open a few, making sure Hailey reads every message. Her mother expects it will be some time before they work their way through all the piles. 

International mail

"There was a couple of really nice bunches of homemade cards that really stand out to me. Ones that came from schools," said Rodenhiser.

Letters have arrived from as far away as Singapore and Japan. Some come with gifts, including a custom T-shirt featuring a photo of Hailey and her cat. 

"Things like that, it's special stuff."

Welcome distraction

The family is expecting another large delivery Wednesday when mail service resumes. Rodenhiser said someone has even offered storage space if they receive too many, a problem they never expected to have. 

But she said the whole project has meant the world to her daughter.

"It's a long haul after being into this process for two years and still knowing there's half a year left," Rodenhiser said. "With everything keeping her busy and preoccupied, that helps as well."

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