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"The world is not indifferent after all" Man with Down's syndrome moved to tears after mum's Facebook campaign sparks 30,000 cards for his 30th birthday

Manuel-Parisseaux.jpg

A man with Down's syndrome received more than 30,000 cards for his 30th birthday after an appeal by his mum on Facebook went viral.

Frenchman Manuel Parisseaux, who turned 30 on Saturday, was moved to tears by the surprise of hundreds of thousands of birthday wishes sent to him from all over the world. The number of cards and gifts became so great that a truck was needed to deliver them and the family had to use their neighbour's garage in their hometown of Calais, France, to store them in.

"I don't understand why it got so big. Manuel is like us, he is moved to tears," Manuel's mother Jacqueline Parisseaux told AFP.

"We got cards from everywhere: Sri Lanka, Chicago, Hong Kong and sometimes with children’s drawings."

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Manu opening his cards with his mum and dad

Jacqueline originally posted a message on her husband's Facebook page on November 3. She explained that their son "loves receiving postcards" and asked friends and family to send cards to help celebrate his big day.

"My son Manuel is going to turn 30 years old on November 22. He has Down's syndrome," the message read. 

"I'm writing to ask you to take a couple minutes to send him a little card and to pass this information on to your friends so the chain doesn't get broken.

"I thank you all for your gesture, which will make my Manu so happy."

Jacqueline said the request, which contained the family's full address, "snowballed" within hours of her sharing it. 

"We had a few hassles with Facebook because our post was shared 120,000 times and they thought we were a business or that we were running a scam," she said.

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Manu and his parents with just some of his thousands of cards

Before long, cards started arriving for Manuel - first by the dozen, and then by the thousand, with a truck needed to deliver them in crates.

A rush of 3,000 on Manuel's birthday alone this weekend pushed the total number of cards to more than 30,000, including gifts of chocolate, key rings and cakes.

"Be patient because Manu wants to open his cards one by one," an update from his family on Facebook read. 

Manu wants to keep and display all the cards he receives, although the family says that they will be unable to reply to each and every message. 

"We would never have imagined the impact that a simple internet message could have in a few days," Jacqueline told the French newspaper La Voix du Nord. "We are surprised by this outpouring of generosity and messages of support and kindness. The world is not indifferent after all."

Around one in every 1000 babies born in the UK will have Down’s syndrome, a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome 21 in the body’s cells.

Read more about random acts of kindness in our round-up of the world's most inspiring and generous gestures.

Photos: Facebook/ La Voix du Nord

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