Mom's special wish for sick teen's Sweet 16 spreads worldwide
CARNATION, Wash. -- Cards are coming from strangers near and far for Tawna Decker. Her mom in Carnation rattles off return addresses from New York, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Connecticut, and Great Britain.
Terrie Decker posted her wish on Facebook for her daughter's sweet 16. She asked her community to mail in cards and give her child a birthday she'll remember even though Huntington's Disease is attacking Tawna's brain, memory, balance, and speech.
The teenager once had a bubbly personality and a mind for numbers.
"I thought she was gonna be a NASA person," said her mom. Now, she says Tawna is mentally around a 2nd grade level.
The same disease claimed her 35-year-old father 16 months ago.
"It's a deadly disease," Terrie Decker said. "We watched my husband suffer through the last three months of his life. It was dreadful for us."
Decker worries how many birthdays Tawna has left.
"I fear that she won't get to her 21st birthday," she said. "They don't usually make it that far."
Decker says she didn't expect her wish for cards to explode. Every day her daughter rushes home from school excited to open envelopes filled with well wishes, stickers, handmade cards, gift cards, and sometimes cash.
"Yesterday she got a card from Johnny Depp and she was screaming with excitement 'cause her favorite movie star sent her a card," said Decker. Each year at Halloween Tawna dresses up as one of Depp's movie characters.
Tawna turns 16 on March 3 but her mother said they will gladly accept cards beyond the birthday.
Where to send birthday cars for Tawna:
You can send them to:
PO Box 127
Carnation, WA 98014