Birthday cards, gifts pour in for Big Bear autistic boy after mother's plea

Leticia Juarez Image
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Autistic boy gets hundreds of cards, birthday party after mother's plea
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Hundreds of strangers from throughout the state gave a very special birthday to an 11-year-old autistic boy whose mother asked for support through #abc7eyewitness.

BIG BEAR, Calif. -- Lori Fritsinger's home is stuffed with letters and packages for her 11-year-old autistic son Ryan.

Last month, Fritsinger had one request after reaching out to ABC7 using #abc7eyewitness: She asked for birthday cards for her son, who has trouble making friends.

ABC7 viewers overwhelmingly responded. Hundreds of cards, letters and gifts poured in for Ryan from everywhere.

"Ryan is so happy now," Fritsinger said. "He has a sparkle in his eye."

The community also came together to give Ryan a birthday party, jam-packed with surprises. That included Star Wars stormtroopers and a free trip to Legoland.

There were also other gifts from complete strangers who drove in to attend Ryan's special day.

"We saw the news broadcast about Ryan being sad not having a lot of people show up to his birthday party so we drove from Palm Springs to be here today," said Dawn Jordan of Desert Hot Springs.

For a boy who once had no friends to play with, Ryan now has countless friends all over the world.

"This is the happiest I've ever seen him in three years," Ryan's mother said.