For many children, the holiday season is a time of wonder and excitement as they decorate the tree, impatiently await opening presents, and enjoy sweet treats. But for five-year-old Ryland Ward, this Christmas is going to be difficult. Ward lost his stepmother JoAnn and two of his sisters, Emily and Brooke, after a gunman opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November, though local news outlet KSAT reports he doesn't yet know they've died.
More than one month after the horrific shooting that killed 26 people, KSAT reports that Ward remains hospitalized and is being treated for a shattered femur and issues with one of his kidneys. While he's likely going to need to spend Christmas in his hospital bed, Ward's grandmother told KSAT that she still wants this December to be memorable for him by requesting that people send seasonal cards. Those who want to can also include a one-dollar bill (to be saved up for a fun go-cart) or a photo of kids having fun with their pets.
The request quickly captured the attention of people on Twitter, including actress Jane Lynch, who shared the call to action with the simple caption, "Done." She also added a festive tree and hearts.
So far, people from all over the globe have pledged to help make Ward's wishes come true, teachers have promised to enlist the help of their students, and kids have selected their favorite puppy pics.
Ward's aunt also set up a GoFundMe page for those interested in contributing towards his medical bills.
You can send along your holiday cheer to the following address:
P.O. Box 174
Sutherland Springs, Texas, 78161