By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — A terminally ill 6-year-old girl from Utah is getting her wish fulfilled — a houseful of Christmas cards — thanks in part to the generosity of students at Prince of Peace Catholic School.
We want “to make her feel better,” said Prince of Peace first-grader Rylan of Addie Faucett, whose Christmas wish has gone viral on the Internet.
The students and teachers do not know Addie personally; religion teacher Allison Schultz first heard about Addie’s wish through Facebook. In the post, Addie’s mother, Tami, wrote, “We have been told this will be her last Christmas. I am asking everyone who sends a Christmas card to send one to Addie. Let’s send Addie a lifetime of Christmas cards!”
According to the Facebook page, Addie has an inoperable brain condition that has already affected her motor skills and growth. She will likely lose her mental capacity and memory before passing away.
Schultz said her own 6-year-old daughter immediately wanted to help. Schultz considered the idea of making the card initiative a school-wide project and other teachers were supportive of the idea. Additionally, two sets of parents offered to pay for postage. “I think everyone who’s read (Addie’s) story has been touched in some way. Spreading some Christmas cheer by making cards for Addie and her family is just one small way to make a difference.”
Elementary, preschool and daycare students at Prince of Peace created individual cards during the week of Dec. 8. Middle school students created and signed one giant card and high school students made a banner.
Principal Nancy Peart said the project served as an opportunity to “help students understand the true Christmas spirit and how to give and support others as young Christians.”
Elementary teacher Heather Dehner believes the card-making helped the students learn about the joy of giving. “They’re so focused on what they’re going to get (for Christmas) that it’s nice to get them focused on somebody else. It’s nice to give them a lesson on giving back to somebody else. I think they understand and feel good about it.”
In addition to the cards and letters, students and teachers have been praying for Addie. As a private school “we’re allowed to pray, and they ask to pray for her,” Dehner said.
Schultz said, “The more people who know her story means that there are more people praying. Our school believes in the power of prayer.”
Peart said the freedom to teach and express Christian values in the classroom is “one of the joys of Catholic school.”
According to Addie’s Facebook page, the family has received thousands of cards since she made the request earlier this month. “I hope every single one of you know how amazing you are and how thankful we are for all your coming together and making Addie’s Christmas wish come true,” wrote her mother.
Several elementary students expressed feeling good about doing something to help Addie. Dehner said, “They talk about her all the time.”