Three years ago, burn victim Safyre Terry, now 8, survived an arson fire that killed her father and three siblings. The little girl wanted something simple for Christmas this year — cards to fill up her tree — and everyone from the president to school kids to pop star Katy Perry have responded with holiday wishes by the truckload.
Terry is a huge fan of Katy Perry, particularly her inspirational tune “Roar” and so was over the moon when she received a very special card from the singer, CBS News reported.
Perry sent the young burn victim more than just a card, but an entire care package of gifts, including a “hoodie with ears and a backpack attached, a DVD of Katy’s Prismatic world tour, Katy’s movie Part of Me, an iPhone 6 case that lights up and black kitty cat accessories, including a coin purse and handbag,” the news outlet recounted.
The care package even came with a handwritten note from Katy Perry.
“Safyre, I heard about your Christmas wish and and am so honored that you saved the top of the tree for me! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year. I’ll be thinking of you on Christmas Day. Special girl.”
But Katy Perry isn’t the only one to send well wishes to the burn victim. CBS News reported on December 24 that Safyre, who is from Rotterdam, New York, has received more than a million cards from all over the world, $400,000 from a crowdfunding website, and a trip to Disney in Florida in March thanks to nonprofit Backing Memories 4 Kids.
All this good cheer was the result of a Facebook post by a family friend that announced her simple wish.
The young burn victim survived the fire that killed her family thanks to her father’s bravery, the Today show recalled. Three years ago, when the fire ripped through their home, her father, David, cradled little Safyre in his arms, which kept her from breathing in hot air and kept her alive. She was severely burned and lost a hand and foot.
Sadly, her three younger siblings perished in the blaze, and afterward, her mother signed her custodial rights over to the state. Terry aunt (her father’s sister) Liz Dolder stepped in to take care of the grieving burn victim alongside her own 8-year-old twins.
And now, Liz has been helping to unload and open millions of letters. In addition to the package from Katy Perry, the burn victim has received well-wishes from Beyoncé and President Barack Obama, E! News added. The official holiday card from the presidential family came with a personal note from First Lady Michelle Obama.
“When the President and I heard your story, we wanted to be sure you had a White House holiday card to add to your collection. You sound like such a brave girl and you’ve inspired so many people around the world, including Barack and me.”
In the week before Christmas, Dolder said more than a million cards and thousands of packages have arrived on the doorstep of her family’s rural home, located 15 miles west of Albany. Two dozen volunteers unloaded the gifts and cards from postal trucks and tractor-trailers, stacked them in a barn, and helped the family open them.
“Even with all the volunteers, we haven’t even brushed the surface,” Dolder said just before Christmas.
In addition to Katy Perry’s gifts, Safyre has received a card filled with Yen from Japan, a “stuffed koala and boomerang from Australia, anime toys from France, German newspaper clippings of Safyre’s story, framed calligraphy from China, and countless cards, many handmade by children,” from every U.S. state and many foreign countries.
Students at the University of Albany also fashioned the young girl a first-generation, 3D-printed hand.
“You should have seen her face… Priceless. Saf took to it right away. She even picked up a cup the within a hour of having it. They have to tweak it a bit. But she should have it back in a few days,” Liz wrote on Facebook.
But most of the gifts will be going to other children in need. She and her family plan to visit shelters in Albany to give away some of the presents, and new ones, to homeless children and those who are victims of domestic violence. She’ll also bring presents to Boston’s Shriners Hospital, where the burn victim still receives treatment, Dolder said.
“She’s a very big sharer. She’s just very kind and generous and sweet.”
[Image via Safyre Schenectady’s Super Survivor Facebook page]