Receiving 18,000 Cards Makes Rhys Feel Better

If ever there was evidence that affirms the importance and healing power of sending a greeting card it is that of teenage Rhys Williams. His mum Tania sent out the rally call for birthday cards to be set to her son, who suffers from the painful debilitating condition of epidermolysis bullosa to give him the fight to survive after he confessed to her he wished “a butterfly would come and take him away”.

Rhys has now received over 18,000 cards already (his 14th birthday is this Saturday, 21 September) and counting. A week ago, Rhys had received 3,000 but the news of his plight has spread (as reported on PGBuzz). The heart-wrenching story has, not surprisingly attracted the interest of the media, which has served to swell the sea of cards that have arrived at Rhys’ Bolton home.

Above: Wheelchair-bound Rhys with just a small proportion of the cards he has received.
Above: Wheelchair-bound Rhys with just a small proportion of the cards he has received.

Interviewed on the BBC 2 Victoria Derbyshire programme, Rhys told viewers how receiving the cards has helped him feel better.

“Now that I know that people do care, it had made me feel a lot better about my condition.”

The programme showed Rhys, fighting through the pain caused by his blistered skin opening the cards and reading them.

Above: Rhys reading one of the cards.
Above: Rhys reading one of the cards.

Rhys celebrates his 14th birthday the day before this year’s Thinking of You Week kicks off. The GCA instigated initiative urges people to send cards throughout the week to let people know they care, to say hello, to cheer people up, to get in touch.

Above: The Thinking of You Week initiative encourages people to send cards every day next week.
Above: The Thinking of You Week initiative encourages people to send cards every day next week.

Retailers, publishers, Royal Mail and individuals are putting the final touches to their plans for Thinking of You Week (which runs 22-28 September). In addition to ClintonsScribblerPaperchaseFunky Pigeon and Moonpig (https://www.pgbuzz.net/clintons-royal-mail-paperchase-and-scribbler-pledge-they-are-thinking-of-you/), a host of independents are also supporting this year’s Thinking of You Week in store, online and via social media, using the free-to-download PoS that is hosted on the GCA’s Thinking of You Week site (https://www.thinkingofyouweek.cards/)

Among the indies to be embracing the Week, for the first time is Michelle Ellingham, owner of Box of Delights in Flitwick. Inspiring by Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA, and what she had to say about Thinking of You Week at The Henries 2019 judging, Michelle set about putting a special display and promotion together for the Week. She has worked with Pigment on a dedicated display incorporating The Happy News and Happy Jackson designs and using the Thinking of You Week PoS.

Above: Box of Delights’ Michelle Ellingham (left) with the GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson at The Henries’ judging.
Above: Box of Delights’ Michelle Ellingham (left) with the GCA’s ceo Amanda Fergusson at The Henries’ judging.

“We are hoping that through the display instore and activity on social media channels we can get our customers to really get involved,” says Michelle.

Above: One of the social media posts by Box of Delights.
Above: One of the social media posts by Box of Delights.

Royal Mail is also to be franking millions of pieces of mail with the Thinking of You Week message.

 

Top: A still of Rhys Williams from the BBC Victoria Derbyshire programme.

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