The older sister of a young autistic man is appealing for birthday cards to help her brother celebrate his 21st birthday.
James Weir, from Bolton, will be turning 21 next month and is pretty excited about celebrating his milestone birthday.
However, because of his condition he struggles to socialise and make friends which is breaking his family’s hearts as he has no-one to celebrate with.
His older sister Lucy, determined to see her little brother smile on his big day, decided to do something about it.
Posting an appeal on Facebook, Lucy asked people to help surprise James by sending him a birthday card or a message.
This is James. My not-so-baby brother and he is turning 21 on the 30th November.
James has autism and this makes it difficult for him to make friends and socialise. He gets anxious in social situations and finds it hard to communicate effectively with others.
Sadly, James has no friends and it breaks our hearts.
So, I have come up with an idea/surprise for his birthday. I wondered if you kind folk out there will share this post and send James a birthday message or card.
Even if he only got a few I know he’d be over the moon.
I want to make his milestone birthday extra special and put a big smile on that handsome face. Thank you everybody.
The post has since gone viral on social media with people replying offering to send James cards, make him a cake and send presents.
Lucy spoke to UNILAD about why she decided to make the appeal.
Most lads would be going out and partying for their 21st but sadly James cant do that which breaks our hearts.
I want to make it as special as I possibly can considering the situation.
I wanted to make his 21st one to remember.
He loves geography and I thought he could get cards from all over the globe.
Lucy really is the best big sister going!
James, who will be celebrating his birthday on November 30, is currently at college and ‘dreams of having a job but feels nobody will employ him because of his autism’.
Lucy and his family have also planned a birthday meal to celebrate his occasion.
He will be receiving gifts that fuel his interests: titanic, dinosaurs, astronomy, planes or automobiles.
We will give him the cards as a surprise and will share his reaction. I know he’ll be over the moon.
James has no idea that the surprise is coming and we can’t wait to see his smile!
Lucy never expected her appeal to go viral but is delighted it has.
She told UNILAD:
I have been totally overwhelmed. So many emails and kind gestures have come my way.
We are keeping it all a surprise for James but its so hard to not tell him.
He’s very shy but also has always wanted to do something to go ‘viral’.
People have offered tickets to days out and sent presents. I can’t thank people enough – it puts a tear in my eye.
Our eyes are welling up over here too!
If you want to send James a card for his big day, you can address it to:
c/o Waring and Co
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.