Seven weeks before Christmas, a modern day Christmas miracle was taking place in South Lyon, Michigan, in the home of a five-year-old boy in hospice, with a very short time to live.
After a tear-filled Halloween weekend, Noah Biorkman’s parents, Diana and Scott, decided that instead of waiting for Noah to die without celebrating Christmas one last time, they would bring the holiday to him early in November. They would put up a Christmas tree, ask the family to gather early and ask their friends to send Noah a Christmas card. One friend created a Facebook page called “Christmas Cards for Noah Biorkman,” with this description:
Christmas will come early for a five year old Michigan boy this year. Noah Biorkman is battling cancer and is not expected to live much longer. Noah’s family is celebrating Christmas this weekend and Noah loves Christmas cards!”
The Tuesday after, Diana wrote, “Scott and I are shocked at the outpouring of love, prayers, support, and compassion that all of you have shown over the past four days alone.” They received 64 Christmas cards and one package and the Post Office supervisor, Sandy, told them the entire post office was stunned by the “compassion shown from people all over the country.”
Noah and Diana decorated the Christmas tree and put Santas in the windowsill and read every card together. Noah’s dad, Scott, lifted the boy up high in the air to put a star on top of the tree. The family was offered clowns, Santas, Christmas Carolers, and even “a snow delivery” to make sure that “Noah had a White Christmas.” But it was the cards they wanted… and the cards came flooding in.
The parents were also filled with satisfaction that they were able to teach others about pediatric cancer through Noah’s story, especially Neuroblastoma cancer which had afflicted their son. Noah’s name was, according to his mom, the 12th most Googled topic on Friday.
On Wednesday November 4th, 416 more cards from the Post Office were delivered along with packages and cards from a local school. A camera crew from Detroit’s Channel 4 arrived at their door and produced a story about this Christmas miracle of love and compassion. Natalie Sentz reported that the 5-year-old had pointed to an angel ornament as his favorite because it reminded him of where he’ll soon be, ‘In heaven,’ and said “I’m going to be an angel.” The reporter also noted that Diana is asking that instead of gifts for Noah, a single dollar could be inserted into the cards for donation to the University of Michigan neuroblastoma research center and the Michigan Make A Wish Chapter.
Noah didn’t need a snow delivery or a trip to the mall. The following day, the chaos of cards and packgages commenced, according to his mom. 9 people helped read what amounted to more than 2,600 Christmas cards — and that was just on Thursday. The mailman said that in his 31 years working for the U.S. Post Office, he had never seen anything like this — and that was before the delivery of more than 10,000 on Saturday alone! The cards and packages and toys filled Noah’s entire living room
On the “Christmas Cards for Noah” Facebook site, thousands of messages from people all over the world greeted Noah, wishing him a Merry Christmas. As of November 7th, over 16,000 Christmas cards had been sent over the Internet via Facebook to Noah from places as diverse as Tennessee, Australia, Canada, and Serbia.
Andie Wyrick wrote, “Little sweetpea, you are a rockstar. Be looking for a BIG box from houston, TX. We love you and pray for you.”
“It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air!” wrote Terri Shermatero-Keesling.
“Merry Christmas from Scotland. Hope Santa is good to you,” wrote another.
Santa was coming to Noah’s house on Sunday but Santas all over the world were spreading Christmas cheer to a little boy in a house in South Lyon, Michigan.
As I sat at home, reading the Facebook cards, it was hard not to imagine the smiles on the faces of Noah, his parents, grandparents and entire family as they read, one by one, from the incredible worldwide wave of joy that was reaching their home. I could imagine the scene from It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey felt the phenomenal spirit of compassion from all of those around him who loved him.
Noah’s life might have been short but like Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life, Noah will be earning his wings.
You can send a card or letter to:
1141 Fountain View Circle
South Lyon, Michigan 48178
Read more about Noah’s final year, and see a photo, in the September story from Arnie Goldman:
Turning a Bad News Diagnosis Into Good