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Mom Hopes Cards Will Bring Holiday Cheer to Her Son

December 20, 2018 GMT

LEOMINSTER -- Amanda Johnson has one wish this Christmas, and it’s for complete strangers to take a few minutes to cheer up her son.

“This year, money has been tight and things have been hard since Maddie passed, so we’re trying to find ways to brighten up Christmas a bit,” said Johnson.

She is asking for people to send her son, 10-year-old Zachary Boudreau, Christmas cards this year because the holidays are proving to be a particularly difficult time for him. His younger sister, Madison, passed away two years ago after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

“Since she was diagnosed, we tried to keep him well informed as best as we could,” said Johnson. “They were amazingly close, they had a bond like no other.”

Madison was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor shortly after being born and continued to struggle with the disease through her life. She passed away in 2016, almost two weeks before her third birthday.

It was while Madison was being treated at Boston Children’s Hospital that Johnson said she first encountered the idea of parents putting requests out to the public for messages of encouragement. She recalled one patient’s mother who asked for people to send her child birthday cards while staying at the hospital.

Johnson shared her request on social media earlier this week and several cards have already been sent to Zachary. Of the five the family has received, Johnson said four were from people she has never even met.

Unlike most fourth-graders his age, Zachary is holding off on opening his cards for the next few days.

“I show him the cards every day, but he keeps saying he wants to wait,” said Johnson. “He wants to wait until Christmas.”

Cards for Zachary Boudreau can be mailed to 53 Mount Pleasant Ave., Apt. 3, Leominster.

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53