Ballymena boy Ethan McClean has had a birthday to remember after receiving almost 2000 cards from well-wishers across the globe.
Ethan was diagnosed with the life-limiting illness Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at the age of 18 months.
His parents, Andy and Yvette McClean, started a social media campaign to get as many birthday cards as possible sent to Ethan.
Yvette explained: “The only post Ethan gets to the house is brown envelopes - medical appointments and lots of them. We would like to change his perception that the only post he will get is appointments.
“Secondly, it looks like Ethan is heading for double knee surgery late this year or early next year to have both knees plated and pinned. We know that six weeks off his feet could have serious detrimental effect on his ability to stay on his feet long term.
“Ethan’s only worry about his operation is that the Giants will see his legs in cast. Head coach Adam Keefe has not only accepted a challenge of a 5Km running race with the Team but has invited Ethan to meet the Giants team.”
The Gracehill pupil turned 9 on September 14, with cards arriving from as far and wide as South Africa and America.
Mid and East Antrim Mayor Cllr Paul Reid hosted a special reception in Ballymena to mark the occasion.
Yvette added: “We’re delighted to have had so much support from all over world. We wanted to make this a special birthday and decorate the walls of our house with cards, and with almost 2000 of them we can certainly do that.
“Ethan has had a really good day and it’s been lovely to meet the Mayor and have support from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to help raise awareness about DMD and give Ethan some fabulous memories.”
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a muscle wasting disorder that has a 100 percent fatality rate, because there is currently no cure.
The family have started a running group called ‘Team McClean’ and have a Facebook page with all the details of their upcoming events.