9,000 cards collected for Perry County boy who battled cancer

NEW GERMANTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A Midstate woman collected thousands of birthday cards from around the world for a boy battling cancer.

We first brought you the story last month of the card drive for William Sweger, a Perry County boy fighting leukemia. He passed away four days before his birthday but listened to messages written in the cards during his final days.

William Sweger loved to fish.

“William had a long, hard journey,” said Amy Nesbit, William’s mom.

William’s journey began 19 months ago when he was diagnosed with leukemia. He went into remission, and then it came back.

“This shows the good in people,” Amy said as she flipped through birthday cards.

People are bringing happiness to William’s parents after a family friend started collecting cards for his 13th birthday.

The organizer collected around 9,000 birthday cards.

“We are so appreciative of that so many people cared about our son, people that didn’t even know him,” Amy said.

William’s parents and friends took turns reading cards to him during his final days in the hospital. This brought comfort not only to William but to his parents.

“You could tell which ones he liked because he responded. He either responded by squeezing your hand, nodding his head, or he’d give a little bit of a smile,” said Derek Nesbit, William’s dad.

Kelly Newlin hoped to collect 500 to 1,000 birthday cards for William. She got more than 9,000 cards from every state and four continents.

“It’s unreal. People are awesome,” Newlin said. “I can’t come up with the words. It just blows my mind.”

“It makes my heart swell to know that such a little boy that we were blessed to have for 12 years affected as many people as what he did,” Amy said.

The boy known for his gentle spirit and positive attitude is living on by encouraging others to live their lives as fully as he did for 12 years.

“It will make some people rethink how they’ve been living their lives and what really matters and priorities,” Amy said.

People also sent William lots of gifts for the drive. His parents will donate some of the non-personalized ones to help kids battling cancer at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

William’s public memorial service will be held Saturday, August 19, beginning at 2 p.m., at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill.

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