BELLINGHAM - Making Kyle Roger happy this holiday season is easy: Just send him and his brother, Nicolas, a Christmas card - or a note wishing them happy Hanukkah, joyous Kwanzaa or a super solstice."He always has loved mail," said Kyle's mother, Christin Roger.The type of card doesn't matter to the 7-year-old Bellingham boy so much as knowing that people still think of him, as they did when he was first diagnosed with a rare brain cancer on Feb. 9, 2007.Well-wishers sent him cards then, before life moved on and the missives slowed to a trickle. Recently, he talked to his mom about how he used to get cards all the time.Christin, a pharmaceutical representative, in turn told employees at a doctor's office who had asked after her son. They spread the word, and flurries of cards have started to show up in the mailbox once more, many of them from strangers.Kyle spent a day earlier this week opening a stack of Christmas cards that was five inches high, his mother said."It's been really fun," Christin said.Kyle, a second-grader at Wade King Elementary School, has been battling diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an inoperable brain tumor on the pons section of his brainstem. Doctors have told the family that, generally, 50 percent of children with that type of cancer make it through the year, while only 5 percent survive more than five years.After nearly two years of chemotherapy, Kyle is taking a break from the treatment to give his immune system a chance to rebuild, according to his mom.Kyle is doing "relatively well," Christin said, but he is struggling more this year than last.His balance is no longer good enough to allow him to ski or ride his bike and scooter. His ability to swallow has been affected, as have his cheek muscles, so talking and smiling are harder. Kyle also has significant hearing loss, she said.But her son remains brave despite the effect of what he calls his "brain bump," Christin said."He still is determined to go to school every single day. He is still Kyle. He's the most determined kid I've ever seen," Christin said. "He loves life. He loves everything about it. He loves being around people."When Kyle asked for cards, he also requested that they be sent to Nicolas, who at 9 is the older brother he adores - the one who keeps him from falling because of his poor balance, the one best able to understand what Kyle is trying to say when fatigue makes it harder for others to do so."Nicolas has been an amazing brother to him," Christin said. "He holds his hand (when getting) off the school bus and carries his backpack."Together, they read the cards and the notes written within."A lot of people are sending prayers and well-wishes," said Jocelyn Roger, the boys' father.When she picks up the cards from the mailbox, Christin said it reminds her that people are good."It makes me feel like we're not alone. There's a lot of days where it's hard to watch Kyle struggle," she said. "As a mom knowing that total strangers are thinking about your child and thinking about your family, it's the epitome of what the holidays should feel like."
So, if you have an extra card sitting around, could you send it to Kyle? His address is... Kyle Roger837 S. Hills Drive Bellingham, WA 98229 Read more about Kyle and his family at www.kyleroger.blogspot.com