Sweet 16 cards wanted for girl with genetic disorder
CAZENOVIA, Wis. — In the small village of Cazenovia, P.O. Box 162 at the local post office has been holding good wishes far beyond its capacity.
“It’s just like Christmas every day when you go down and see what’s there,” Kristie Rockweiler said.
Rockweiller picks up the letters every day, which are not postmarked for Christmas, but for a different celebration. Her daughter, Nicia Buttner, has a big birthday coming up in January.
“She’s been really worried about her sweet 16 because Nicia is not going to be able to drive and she won’t have a license like a normal teenager,” Rockweiler said.
Driving is the least of her concerns because Nicia has Noonan syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes a host of health issues. Lung, heart, epilepsy, blood and hearing problems can send her to the hospital multiple times a month.
“She has a hard time relating to kids her own age, so she’s really been down about being 16,” Rockweiler said. “It’s a sweet 16 and she wanted it to be a big deal.”
Rockweiler is on a quest for it to be a big deal, so she started a Facebook group last month to send Nicia birthday cards. Within hours, the word spread, and the next day P.O. Box 162 held a surprise.
“I went down there and there were 10 cards in the box in that fast amount of time,” Rockweiler said. “There hasn’t been a single day since that there hasn’t been cards in the mailbox.”
Cards started arriving from all over the country, including Nevada, Pennsylvania, Alaska and Maine.
“Turning 16 is an amazing time in a young lady’s life, full of adventure and new opportunities,” one card from Maine reads. “This card has traveled 1,257 miles from my door to yours to wish you a happy birthday. It’s funny I spent my own sweet 16 in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, many, many years ago.”
Then cards and packages began arriving from around the world, including England, Germany, France, New Zealand and Australia. So far, Nicia has received mail from 32 states and seven countries.
Rockweiler has read a few, and opens packages to see what’s being sent. But nearly all cards remain unopened, waiting for Nicia to read their messages.
“I hope she realizes how much that people can care and starts to feel good about herself,” Rockweiler said.
Nicia’s birthday is Jan. 26, and they’re hoping you’ll send cards to Nicia Buttner, P.O. Box 162, Cazenovia, WI 53924.