QUINLAN — While some kids write Santa with requests of bicycles, game consoles and trips to Disney World, young Andrew Russell has one simple wish, a mailbox full of Christmas cards.
Brianne Sparkman said she first heard of Andrew and his struggle with brain and spine cancer while listening to 94.9 KLTY's Christmas Wish special during her ride to work in 2006.
Andrew was diagnosed with ependymoma, a rare type of brain tumor that spreads malignant cells through the brain and spinal cord.
"It was truly heartbreaking to hear he was going through all of this," she said. "...Andrew wanted to meet Batman and Robin and have Christmas cards flown in from all over the world."
Sparkman said she called the station and started an effort to make Andrew's wish come true.
"I collected [cards] from schools, churches, friends, family, chambers, police, fire, military and other places," she said.
Her push was a success.
"I was able to collect so many cards that I had about three boxes full when I showed up to grant his wish," she said. "To this day, Andrew still has each of those cards."
While his 2006 wish was granted, it wasn't the end of Andrew's battle with cancer. Eight years later and now 12 years old, Andrew's first diagnosed tumor was stabilized, but a new tumor was found in his brain in mid-August. He's currently undergoing chemotherapy.
Sparkman said Andrew's continuous strength throughout his treatment has been an inspiration.
"This little boy is my hero and always will be," she said.
And once again, she's renewed her campaign to collect Christmas cards for the Quinlan boy.
"I can't say it enough, he loves cards," she said. "Most kids would ask for many items that are expensive. Andrew asks for cards. They can be bought or handmade."
And for those feeling extra generous, she encourages them to add a gift card, "even if it's $5 or $10." Among some of his favorite places are Applebee's, Best Buy, Taco Bueno and Celebration Station.
You can receive updates and information on Andrew and the campaign to send Christmas cards at Send a Card for Andrew.
Anyone who would like to send Andrew a card or letter can address it to:
PO Box 365
Point, TX 75472
Packages should be sent to this address:
1117 Dove Trail
Quinlan, TX 75474
A fundraising page has also been set up as Andrew undergoes treatment. Donations can be made at The Russell's Relief Fund.