No presents, just cards for young cancer patient

Here’s your daily dose of bittersweetness:

In Altoona, Iowa, Ava Hutchinson was diagnosed with cancer when she was just 2. She was treated and declared cancer free in 2009, but it came back in July. She’s 11 now and she may not see 12.

She didn’t want any presents, the Des Moines Register says. She wanted people to send cards with money to help the Children’s Cancer Connection.

No shock here. She got cards.

And they just kept coming. From Scotland, Japan, Australia and Hawaii. She’s even received one from President Barack Obama.

In a Facebook event page devoted to spreading Hutchinson’s message, people from around Iowa and beyond are sending birthday wishes.

Local institutions like the Walnut Street School and the Altoona Target are participating, as are individuals from beyond Iowa. People from countries such as France and Spain and states such as South Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma have flooded the Facebook page.

“I was really proud of her,” mom, Joni, said Monday. “That was something she thought of herself. And it was to think of others.”

If people didn’t send cards, they sent videos.


  • John

    Did people donate too, because I hope they did.

    • Mike

      I heard a firsthand, personal story just yesterday about how donations make a world of difference in the fight against cancer. They fund from support to families to allowing scientists and doctors research and develop new treatments. I encourage all to find a charity to be passionate about and work hard to help them. I feel it is the most rewarding work anyone can do.

  • rallysocks

    Tugging on my heartstrings, again Bob!

    Ten years ago, our special needs daughter was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Pre-surgery, our community was as supportive as could be and post-surgery, her hospital room was packed with cards and gifts and visitors. This continued and still continues to this day–of course not in the same volume.

    This year, she’s learned how to make some nifty pieces of jewelry, which she is going to sell and donated half of the proceeds to our local cancer group as well as to one in MN that is related to her type of cancer.

    While her type of cancer rarely re-occurs, the possibility is never out of my mind–and I wish that Ava and her parents and the millions of people like them never, never have to go through that kind of hell more than once, if ever.