EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 21, 2014

A birthday like no other

Mother sparks a global outpouring in celebration of autistic son


In her initial post to friends and family via Facebook on Jan. 30, Cathy Pearson said she was already “feeling sick about losing another year where autism has my son — has his voice! Every year on his birthday, I close my bedroom door and bury my face into my pillow and cry.”

“I guess everyone realizes that he doesn’t understand anyways,” she wrote. “This year, I want to stop feeling downright upset that my son is aging into a young man under a blanket of autism. I want to CELEBRATE him and ENJOY his day.”

The Facebook post came equipped with permission from Cathy Pearson to share and pass it around. From there, “it ended up, really, getting re-posted beyond what she had expected to the point that it went viral.”

As the post has made its way around the globe, including to autism support networks everywhere, well wishes by the hundreds from as far away as Japan and Tanzania have flooded the family’s Lowell Street home.

“He has received, from one kid in Washington, a Jay Jay the Jet Plane play set. He has gotten a Slinky, Hot Wheels cars,” James Pearson said. “Someone sent us an Australian flag — a full-size Australian flag. We also have an Australia magnet on our fridge now.”

Bruce O’Connell, a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service, said he knew something was going on when the family’s mail started bulking up beyond reason.

“After the first day, I was getting handfuls of cards,” O’Connell said. “I didn’t know who Logan was at the time and was curious who he was. I started getting envious. I don’t get half these greetings.”

Over time, handfuls of cards became totes of mail delivered daily with return addresses from around the country. Then, the mail started displaying international labels and stamps, too, O’Connell said.

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