The walls of the Friedel family home are filling up with messages of support and love from around the world. Baby Easton was born in August 2012 with a rare, incurable skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB. His skin is raw and blistered and the slightest touch can cause new blisters to form.
Easton's story of survival has captivated nearly 200,000 Facebook followers, and when many of them saw a recent post about people sending Easton Christmas cards, hundreds more cards started arriving. Easton's mother planned to fill one wall of her kitchen with cards, now they cover nearly the entire kitchen and dining room.
"Tending to Easton can be overwhelming, and the cards, the messages, they just are such a welcome moment of kindness - and it is so nice to know that people are watching his progress from all over the world," Danielle Friedel said.
Cards have arrived from as far away as the United Kingdom, Australia and many other countries. "Dear Baby Easton, you are such an inspiration and I am so grateful to be able to watch you grow," one of the messages reads.
Those interested in sending Easton a card can mail it to:
P.O. Box 430Weedsport, NY 13166
This year for Christmas, Easton will get toys that will aid in his development. At 16 months he is sitting up on his own, but it is not clear when the next steps in typical childhood development will come. In physical therapy he is slowly starting to work on putting more weight on his legs. It is not known if he will crawl or roll over anytime soon.
While Easton's skin is in better shape these days, he still has a tracheostomy installed. The tubing and machines help pump air deep into his lungs. It was a breathing problem thatput Easton in the hospital for more than 100 days earlier this year. It was a medical crisis that almost killed him.
"Last year at this time he was just getting out of the hospital on Christmas Day, right before we went back into the hospital again for that very, very long stay," his mother said. "This year, it will be nice to have Easton home with his brothers, so we can really celebrate Christmas as a family," she added.
"Easton is much healthier right now, he's got a big personality and he can really make you smile," Danielle said with her own big smile.