SALYERSVILLE - A brave 9-year-old with cystic fibrosis has set a major goal, and he is almost half-way there.
Dalton Dingus, of Salyersville, has become increasingly sick and recently was allowed to come home, medical supplies in tote to be closer to loved ones. On November 6, he was escorted from the county line by 11 vehicles with flashing lights, from the Magoffin County Sheriff's Office, Magoffin County Rescue Squad, North Magoffin Fire Department and others. Signs beside the road and at his home welcomed him back.
"He just couldn't believe it was all for him," Dalton's mom, Jessica, said. "He was just so excited."
Dalton's neighbor posted a message on Facebook, asking for people to send him cards so he could see members of his community loved him and wished him well. That's where the goal started.
Since the initial Facebook post, Jessica said her son has received 12,275 cards as of Tuesday. Cards from around the world are stored in totes in their living room, postmarked Italy, France, England, Australia, Guatamala, Japan, Germany. On Friday he received a card from New Mexico, the last state needed to have a card from every state in the U.S. And it's only been three weeks since his neighbor reached out to the community.
"I didn't think it would go this far," Jessica said. "I thought he would get some from Magoffin, but then they started coming in from other places in the state, then the country, and now they're coming in from everywhere. It's just been awesome."
Jessica said Dalton is overwhelmed and excited by the outpouring of support, especially loving the cards with special messages and homemade cards from other children. His mother's favorites are from other families dealing with cystic fibrosis, sharing their stories.
While they originally set out to beat the world record, after a little research, 34 million cards sounded a bit steep. They set a goal of 10,000 cards, which he beat this week, receiving just 2,100 on Monday, alone, so the new goal is 25,000. They are accepting all types of cards, but asks for all senders to list their city and state on each card so he can keep track of everything he receives.
"We want to thank the community," Jessica said. "The outpouring of love and support from Magoffin has shown for Dalton is amazing. This town has pulled together for my child."
Every morning Dalton gets up asking if the mail has run, yet, giving him something to look forward to. They have become very familiar with their mail woman, Jessica said. "We love her!"
In addition to the cards, University of Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari has sent three things, Miss Kentucky has paid a visit, as have a UK Dance member, Neal from "Call of the Wildman," Kentucky State Police troopers, and a call from "Turtleman."
Make-a-Wish Foundation delivered a club house for Dalton, complete with a Playstation 3, recliner and a flat screen television.
Dalton was named Grand Marshall of the Salyersville Hometown Christmas Celebration Parade, but was unable to attend on Saturday. He had a party earlier that day and was too tired, his mom said.
People can send cards to:
HC 62 Box 1249
Salyersville, Ky 41465